OTF Newsletter

September 2019, Vol. 24

New State Effort to Ramp Up Electric Vehicle Usage New Jersey Spotlight, September 30, 2019. “The state is moving to tackle one of its toughest climate action goals: putting 330,000 electric vehicles on the road in New Jersey in less than six years. In a step toward achieving that goal, the state Board of Public Utilities wants to hire a consultant to administer a program to jump-start New Jersey’s efforts to electrify the transportation sector, which now accounts for 46% of emissions contributing to global warming. The BPU started the process Friday, September 27, a move clean-energy advocates hope will revive the state’s push to transition to cleaner vehicles on New Jersey roads. New Jersey and other Northeastern states made the commitment to comply with California’s zero emission vehicle program.”

Hearing exposes tensions over climate policy pace Statehouse News, Boston in The Herald News, Fall River, Massachusetts, September 23, 2019. “The update came during a tense hearing where Sen. Michael Barrett, of Lexington, complained about the administration’s “infatuation with planning” and Sen. Marc Pacheco urged Gov. Charlie Baker to use his position to push for more aggressive climate action.  The criticism had less to do with the Transportation Climate Initiative and more to do with the frustration felt by leading climate activists and legislators with the pace of activity on Beacon Hill. Earlier in the day, Pacheco gave a speech on the floor of the Senate warning about the dangers of waiting too long to set more aggressive state emission reduction goals.  Theoharides, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in April, is helping to lead a 12-state effort to develop a regional “cap-and-invest” program similar to the one Massachusetts and other states on the East Coast developed to curb power plant emissions.  The goal of the so-called Transportation Climate Initiative is to cap emissions from vehicles and other transportation sources, and use the money derived from the sale of credits for excess emissions to invest in low-carbon transportation infrastructure.”

Smart transportation can clean air, cut health costs, shorten commutes The Day, New London CT (Opinions), September 15, 2019. “As we leave behind the summer fun, send the kids back to school and return to our daily commutes, transportation challenges are front and center. In Connecticut, the core problems of aging infrastructure and congested roads are compounded by air pollution from growing vehicle emissions… Acadia Center just released a new analysis detailing the potential economic benefits of a TCI program. The report shows that by capping transportation carbon dioxide emissions, auctioning allowances, and investing proceeds — much like Connecticut already does for power plants emissions — the state could generate $2.7 billion in auction proceeds between 2021 and 2030. Acadia Center’s analysis further shows that investing these funds across the state’s transportation system would generate: 23,000 long-term jobs; $2.2 billion in new wages; $7 billion in new business sales; and $4.3 billion in other benefits, including reduced air pollution.”

Cap and trade for transportation must consider environmental justice, advocates say Energy News Network, September 6, 2019. “As Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states develop a regional plan to reduce transportation emissions, environmental justice advocates want to ensure the process and results are fair for low-income and minority communities. “'The states have been making a more conscious effort to ensure that equity is a central part of the conversation,” said Bruce Ho, senior advocate in the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There’s been a tremendous amount of pressure from stakeholders to make sure that’s the case.'”


Resources & Announcements

Statement of Support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative’s Development of a Transportation Cap and Invest Program Exelon, National Grid, and PSEG , September 24, 2019. “Our companies serve the electric needs of millions of customers in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) region. In the past decade, the electric utility industry has made significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and great strides towards improved air quality, while continuing to provide affordable and reliable service. Climate change is a critical threat to our communities and our businesses. Creating a cleaner transportation sector will be necessary to tackle this issue. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation now eclipse the emissions from electricity generation, both in our region and nationally. At the same time, our regional infrastructure for moving people and goods is in dire need of repair and improvement. Traffic congestion is frustrating and costly, while transit has not kept pace. Solving these problems—the global and local, the long-term and the daily quality of life—will require concerted regional cooperation. State and local governments are committing to greenhouse gas reductions and other transportation planning initiatives that will require the transportation industry to take action, including advancing electric transportation. In turn, we are committed to being a partner to governmental policymakers in achieving their goals.”

How We Respond A project of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), September, 16, 2019.  “These stories – involving local governments, nonprofits, businesses and the public – demonstrate a range of climate responses at the community level, and present solutions and approaches that could be adapted for other communities.”  Washington, D.C. has some of the worst traffic in the country, and its air quality pays a price. D.C. officials decided to do something about it by boosting public transportation and investing in clean energy transportation alternatives to cut congestion and carbon emissions. After years of intensive planning, DC is now recognized as being one of the top cities for clean energy and transportation policies.

Yale Climate Connections / Climate Explained project, September 22, 2019. “A brief introduction to climate change and transportation: “Consider just the United States. In 2017, the transportation sector accounted for 29% of the nation’s total emissions of 6.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or CO2e (the CO2 equivalent of an individual greenhouse gas).  Driven largely by the transportation sector’s emissions of fossil fuels, concentrations of CO2 have risen steadily since the early 1980s, except for the period beginning with the start of the last recession in late 2007, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”


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