April 23, 2019 Feature

Keeping Up the Pace: State, City, and Private Sector Transportation Decarbonization

Fatima Maria Ahmad

America’s transportation sector is now the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency (EPA), Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, 1990–2016 (2018). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reinforced the urgency of our emissions challenge in its Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C (2018), noting that “rapid and far-reaching” transitions are needed to stave off climate change. While EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have proposed to roll back the motor vehicle GHG emissions standards through the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks, Proposed Rule, 83 Fed. Reg. 42,986 (Aug. 24, 2018), states, cities, and the private sector are moving forward on decarbonization. States are collaborating on regional efforts like the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) to develop a cap-and-invest program to reduce transportation emissions and the REV-West Initiative to develop corridors for electric vehicle (EV) charging. California continues to set ambitious targets for reducing GHG emissions, including from transportation, and its policies support both EVs and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Under the Volkswagen settlement, EV charging infrastructure is being developed in all 50 states. EPA, Volkswagen Clean Air Act Civil Settlement, www.epa.gov/enforcement/volkswagen-clean-air-act-civil-settlement (last visited Feb. 12, 2019). Cities are exploring EV procurement for their fleets, for public transportation, and for municipal services.

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