Decarbonize Californian transport by 2045
Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California. In order to achieve the state’s carbon neutrality objectives by 2045 and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, decarbonization of this sector is essential. But such a transition is unlikely to happen quickly without key policy intervention, according to a new study that included research from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.
A team of transportation and policy experts from the University of California released a report to the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) on April 21 outlining policy options to dramatically reduce transportation-related fossil fuel demand and emissions. . These policy options, when combined, could lead to a carbon-free transport system by 2045, while improving equity, health and the economy. A second study, led by UC Santa Barbara, identifying strategies to reduce oil production in the state alongside reductions in demand, was published simultaneously.
The state funded both studies through the 2019 Finance Law. The studies are designed to identify ways to reduce transport-related demand and emissions of fossil fuels while managing a strategic and responsible decline in the economy. transportation-related fossil fuel supply.
The study of the University of California application was conducted by researchers at the UC Institute of Transportation Studies, a network with branches in UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCLA. The UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy coordinated policy management for the report, and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change led the study’s environmental equity and justice research.
Creating a carbon-free transportation future will be difficult but not impossible, the report says. It requires urgent action and a long-term perspective. It is important to note that a major initial investment in clean transportation through incentives and new charging and hydrogen infrastructure will soon pay off in net economic savings for the California economy, the net savings over the course of the next decade reaching tens of billions of dollars per year by 2045.
The report recommends flexible policy approaches that can be adjusted over time as technologies evolve and more knowledge is acquired.
“This report is the first to comprehensively assess a path to a carbon neutral transportation system for California by 2045,” said Dan Sperling, director of UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. “We see that such avenues are possible but will rely on significant changes to existing policies as well as the introduction of some new policies. The study also prioritizes the equity, health and workforce impacts of the transition to carbon-free transport. “
Researchers from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation led the study’s workforce analysis. Achieving carbon neutrality in California’s transportation industry could create more than 7.3 million job-years over the next 25 years, researchers say. These jobs would result from the “greening” of many existing occupations and the creation of new occupations.
“This presents the state with a golden opportunity to not only create new, high-quality jobs, but also to ensure that many existing industries and professions move to better practices,” said JR DeShazo, director of the Luskin Center for Innovation and public teacher. Politics.
KEY POLICY STRATEGIES
Zero emission vehicles: Many of the policy options in the report center on a rapid transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), which are expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air pollution, as the state’s electricity grid is also carbon-free.
Light and heavy vehicles are responsible for 70% and 20% of the state’s transport emissions, respectively. The report suggests a combination of improved mandates, incentives and investments in public charging and hydrogen infrastructure to accelerate adoption of ZEVs. For medium and heavy vehicles, top policy priorities include increasing the availability of charging stations for long-haul freight, reforming electricity pricing to make depot charging more affordable, and lanes priority access and curbside access for zero emission trucks, among other possibilities.
Vehicle miles traveled: Even with widespread use of the ZEV, reducing vehicle kilometers is necessary to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle manufacturing emissions, and to improve the quality of life and benefits of using vehicles. traffic-related soils. The report suggests policies that encourage active, shared and micromobility transportation, telecommuting, and land use changes that reduce people’s dependence on cars and improve community connectivity.
Fuels: About 86% of transportation fuel is petroleum. The transition to clean, low-carbon energy requires major investments in electricity and hydrogen. Low-carbon liquid fuels compatible with internal combustion engines will be required to reduce emissions as the transition to ZEVs progresses, as well as in some specialized applications, such as aviation. California can support needed investment in clean fuels with mandatory blending levels, new incentives, and credits to boost investment in ultra-low-carbon liquid fuels for aviation, shipping, and older vehicles with combustion engine.
Reach zero: Some residual emissions remain in each scenario examined. The report indicates that at least 4 to 5 million metric tonnes per year of negative emissions capacity (equal to 2.5% of current transport emissions) are needed by 2045 to counter these residual emissions. These could come from carbon capture and sequestration projects that extract carbon from the air and store it underground, as well as what is known as sequestration by natural or exploitable lands.
In addition to the direct economic benefits from 2030, transport decarbonization policies could also lead to health, equity and environmental justice, as well as labor and labor benefits. -work.
Health: Transport is a major cause of local air pollution and contributes to climate change. Particles harm the lungs and hearts, while nitrogen oxide compounds contribute to ozone pollution and other health effects. The report found that cleaner heavy vehicles would significantly reduce pollution in many of the state’s most vulnerable communities. The health benefits of reducing local pollution will increase with the deployment of clean transportation technologies and could translate into savings of over $ 25 billion by 2045.
Equity and environmental justice: Transportation in California carries a legacy of inequality and damage to underprivileged communities. These communities often lack quality public transport or viable transport options. Highways were built with little regard for displacement, and many communities of color were divided by highways, perpetuating historic segregation policies like redlining. The report identifies options that prioritize equity in transport investments and policies.
- Continue to support incentives for electric vehicles targeted at low-income buyers and underserved communities, including used vehicles.
- Prioritize the deployment of heavy electric vehicles in disadvantaged communities and magnetic installations such as commercial warehouses in these communities.
- Support public transport and zero emissions services and charging stations in disadvantaged communities. This can help reduce the kilometers traveled by vehicles and increase accessibility while avoiding travel.
- Avoid locating non-renewable fuel production facilities in disadvantaged communities, involve communities disproportionately affected by emissions from the transport sector in decision-making regarding the location of new infrastructure and related investments. ‘achieve carbon neutrality, and continue to monitor and carefully control local pollutants.
“We need to face the legacy of the lack of public and private investment where black people, indigenous people and people of color live and work,” said Bernadette Austin, acting director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. “This report identifies ways to strategically invest in sustainable infrastructure while intentionally avoiding disruptive and damaging infrastructure in our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.”
labor: The transition to a carbon neutral transportation system will disrupt jobs in some sectors while creating new jobs in others, such as clean vehicle manufacturing and electricity and hydrogen refueling infrastructure. The report suggests that California is prioritizing the needs of affected workers. In addition, wherever the expansion of ZEV-related industry creates quality jobs, state policy should focus on creating widely accessible career paths.
Economy: The transition to ZEVs is expected to generate savings for consumers and the economy well before 2045. Over the next decade, the cost of owning and operating ZEVs is expected to drop below that of a conventional gasoline or diesel vehicle. . Indeed, the costs of batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen will continue to fall; electricity costs will be much lower than oil costs; and ZEV maintenance costs will be lower. These savings can be invested elsewhere by households and businesses.
For more information on this report, contact Samuel Chiu or Kat Kerlin of UC Davis.