Monday Study – The Biden Blueprint For New Energy In Transportation
The U.S. National Blueprint For Transportation Decarbonization; A Joint Strategy To Transform Transportation
January 10, 2023 (U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, responsible for one-third of all emissions. To address the growing climate crisis, and to meet the goal of net-zero GHG emissions economy-wide by 2050, it is critical to decarbonize transportation by eliminating nearly all GHG emissions from the sector. 1,2
Transportation costs are the second largest household expense for Americans and a well-planned transition to a sustainable transportation future will also result in a more affordable and equitable transportation system, with improved transportation services; more mobility choices; improved air quality and health; greater energy security; better quality of life and accessibility; improved health outcomes; enhanced access to a variety of housing options, services, and amenities; well-paying jobs; and safer, more vibrant and resilient communities throughout the country. A decarbonized transportation system can mobilize a sustainable economy that benefits everyone. As our transportation system and communities are increasingly threatened by worsening climate impacts such as hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, heatwaves, and drought, decarbonizing the sector is essential to addressing this existential crisis.
The recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) together represent historic investments in the future of our nation that will transform how we move and live while we build the backbone of a safer and more sustainable transportation system. This Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization follows the momentum from those investments to crystallize a first-of-its-kind strategy for federal leadership and partnerships to decarbonize the entire U.S. transportation sector. Decarbonizing transportation will affect everyone, and solutions must address the needs of all urban, suburban, and rural communities; businesses of all sizes; and individuals and families at every socioeconomic level. The scope, scale, and speed of the shift will continue to require solutions that leverage market forces and private sector investments, which government policies and investments should jumpstart and guide.
Decarbonizing the transportation sector will require multiple strategies and resources to deliver clean, safe, secure, accessible, affordable, and equitable solutions to existing and emerging challenges. Working with partners to enhance land-use planning will tackle the problem at the root and make it appealing and practical for people to take fewer or shorter trips, or to walk or bike on those trips where that is feasible. Implementing large investments in rail, public transportation, and safe active transportation infrastructure will give people the option to safely use more energy-efficient forms of transportation. And, thanks to significant strides in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D), technologies to decarbonize most transportation systems are within sight and offer realistic and viable pathways. The electrification of cars, trucks, and buses and providing the necessary infrastructure to charge them is underway and must accelerate. Given different applications and requirements, decarbonizing the entire transportation sector will require a diverse portfolio of solutions and technologies. This Blueprint focuses on those solutions that are viable and have sufficient resources to scale. Additional RD&D will be needed to further improve certain solutions and reduce costs, but progress and demonstration of promising technologies is well underway.
COORDINATION IS NEEDED
Implementing a holistic decarbonization strategy will require coordinated actions from federal, regional, state, local, and Tribal governments; nonprofit and philanthropic organizations; and private industries. In recognition of our critical roles, the United States Department of Energy (DOE), the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) in September of 2022 to formalize our commitment to the highest level of collaboration and coordination on transportation decarbonization. As an essential part of the MOU, the four agencies committed to creating a decarbonization strategy for the entire transportation sector to guide future policymaking and research, development, demonstration, and deployment in the public and private sectors. This Blueprint articulates that strategy and enumerates the actions needed to transform how people and goods move throughout the United States, all built upon five guiding principles:
• Implement Bold Actions to Achieve Measurable Results: Act upon the urgency of the climate crisis and seize the critical opportunity to improve lives by prioritizing efforts that measurably and rapidly reduce GHG emissions and improve health outcomes, especially for overburdened communities.
• Embrace Creative Solutions Across the Entire Transportation System: Evaluate a broad set of solutions to reduce emissions; including battery electric vehicles (EVs); improved land-use planning; infrastructure investments; and new policies; technologies; and business models that support clean modes of travel and zero-emission vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, for passengers and freight.
• Ensure Safety, Equity, and Access: Focus on approaches that prioritize safety; include community engagement; address consumer needs and reduce emissions; expand accessibility and affordability of travel; distribute benefits more equitably and address disproportionate burdens; enhance infrastructure resiliency to a changing climate; and improve quality of life, health outcomes, and economic opportunity, particularly in overburdened and historically underserved communities.
• Increase Collaboration: Create and support collaborative programs that leverage the combined expertise of DOE, DOT, EPA, HUD, and other federal partners, and expand the federal government’s partnerships with regional, state, local, and Tribal governments; private industry; community-based organizations; and other stakeholders.
• Establish U.S. Leadership: Position the U.S. to lead the global race to clean transportation solutions, creating well-paying domestic jobs, strengthening U.S. energy independence and security, and developing robust and sustainable new domestic and international supply chains for clean transportation technologies.
IMMEDIATE ACTIONS AND LONG-TERM PLANNING
Implementing immediate strategies that achieve meaningful emissions reductions this decade is essential to reaching our nation’s 2030 emissions reduction goals in line with the president’s commitment and the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. We must work concurrently to develop solutions that will result in full economy-wide decarbonization by midcentury. This Blueprint provides a comprehensive, system-level perspective of the entire transportation system across all passenger and freight travel modes and fuels, and lays out three key strategies to achieve decarbonization:
1. Increase convenience by supporting community design and land-use planning at the local and regional levels that ensure that job centers, shopping, schools, entertainment, and essential services are strategically located near where people live to reduce commute burdens, improve walkability and bikeability, and improve quality of life... ...Because every hour we don’t spend sitting in traffic is an hour we can spend focused on the things and the people we love, all while reducing GHG emissions.
2. Improve efficiency by expanding affordable, accessible, efficient, and reliable options like public transportation and rail, and improving the efficiency of all vehicles... ...Because everyone deserves efficient transportation options that will allow them to move around affordably and safely, and because consuming less energy as we move saves money, strengthens our national security, and reduces GHG emissions.
3. Transition to clean options by deploying zeroemission vehicles and fuels for cars, commercial trucks, transit, boats, airplanes, and more... ...Because no one should be exposed to air pollution in their community or on their ride to school or work and eliminating GHG emissions from transportation is imperative to tackle the climate crisis.
While the first two strategies—increasing convenience and improving efficiency— will contribute to reducing GHG emissions and produce significant co-benefits, transitioning to clean options is expected to drive the majority of emissions reductions. Given the broad array of vehicle types, technologies, and usage patterns, a successful transition will require various vehicle and fuel solutions and must consider full lifecycle emissions. This Blueprint focuses on each major transportation mode and identifies specific decarbonization opportunities and challenges, highlighting the role of various clean technologies for various applications.
To achieve a decarbonized transportation sector, the four agencies and our partners will need to deploy and leverage the full extent of our tools, expertise, and resources, such as:
• Policy and Regulation: The federal government, along with regional, state, local, and Tribal governments, and with international partners and allies, can use a variety of policy and regulatory levers, including long-term planning, standards, and coordinated procurement to support decarbonization of the transportation sector.
• Investments and Financing: All levels of government and the private sector can support decarbonization through strategic investments to deploy infrastructure and support manufacturing that accelerate the transition to cleaner, active, and more efficient modes of transportation and vehicles and facilitate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and sustainable fuels.
• Research and Innovation: All levels of government, the private sector, and philanthropy can focus resources on RD&D to identify and scale technologies and tools that will achieve decarbonization. Reducing the cost of clean energy transportation technologies will be required to drive the scale and pace of adoption needed for sector-wide decarbonization and to achieve market pull to accelerate deployment.
• Data and Tools: Complete and comprehensive information is needed for the public and decision makers to understand the benefits of clean mobility options and the implications for energy, infrastructure, the economy, and our environment.
• Education and Training: Workforce training and education are essential to support a transition to diverse and well-paying clean transportation sector careers. Expanded training opportunities will be especially important for residents and businesses in disadvantaged communities.
• Stakeholder Engagement and Public-Private Partnerships: Stakeholder engagement that ensures representation from traditionally underrepresented, overburdened, and underserved communities across all the proposed strategies in this Blueprint will be essential to achieving an equitable transportation future. Partnerships among regional, state, local, and Tribal governments, with disadvantaged communities, the private sector, and philanthropic organizations, will also be critical. All levels of government need to align their efforts and work with private industry and community stakeholders to support sustained and targeted actions.
A CALL TO ACTION
This Blueprint, which is an important step toward a decarbonized transportation future, will be followed by more detailed decarbonization Action Plans. The agencies will develop and implement the Action Plans and will work with other federal agencies, governments at the regional, state, local, and Tribal levels, philanthropic organizations, the private sector, and with global partners to achieve the following milestones:
Before 2030 – Turning the Tide on Transportation GHGs: Research and Investments to Support Deployment
Maximize the impact of the historic BIL/IRA investments and catalyze collaboration and private investments…
2030-2040 – Accelerating Change: Scaling Up Deployment of Clean Solutions
Adapt strategies and implementation plans in response to global events, consumer response, and technology progress…
2040-2050 – Completing the Transition: A Sustainable and Equitable Future
Ensure that no one is left behind and do our part to achieve a net-zero-emissions economy…
Climate strategies must also help communities fulfill their equity and environmental justice responsibilities. Overburdened and historically underserved communities continue to bear the economic and health burdens of higher emissions, noise, and worsened air quality, and it is critical that these communities are not left behind in the transition to a decarbonized economy, as called for in the President’s Justice40 Initiative (see textbox on page 16). Strategies that combat the climate crisis have the ability to strengthen all communities and ensure that infrastructure investments will address current and future needs and avoid the unequal impacts of the past. Moreover, we must ensure that our investments in low-carbon solutions build resilience to the impacts of climate change that disproportionately affect some communities. Building a clean, safe, secure, accessible, affordable, equitable, and decarbonized transportation system will ultimately deliver significant co-benefits to all communities.
Many aspects of consumer decisions and business actions will shape the strategies in this Blueprint, and the strategies themselves will continue to be influenced by evolving macroeconomic trends, technological progress, behavioral changes, and other factors. Therefore, this Blueprint should not be viewed as static. To effectively address the climate crisis, we must be able to adjust course and act quickly to meet the decarbonization goals outlined here. With the resources available in the BIL and the IRA, a path to achieving our climate goals and avoiding climate catastrophe is clearer than ever. But realizing these goals and doing so in a way that maximizes equity and environmental justice will require careful planning and decisive coordinated actions. Our agencies are committed to meeting our nation’s goals, and we call on other stakeholders to help us. Success will require unprecedented coordination among every level of government, private industry, communitybased organizations, stakeholder groups, and all Americans. Decarbonizing our transportation sector is achievable, and the benefits will improve the lives of Americans for generations to come.
The time to act is now…
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