Three years ago, an excellent report advanced my understanding of which transportation/land use policies can really help to tackle climate change. From all appearances, that report has disappeared beneath the waves without a trace; I’ve met few policy advisors who have read it.
The report is Moving Cooler, written by consultants at Cambridge Systematics in 2009. It’s a non-academic technical piece with good math but poor messaging and graphics, and while there was some promotion during the study process, I’ve seen no follow-through. Together, this probably explains why it went unnoticed.
I’ll walk through the report findings in four stages:
- Scope and approach
- What would happen if we deployed a sensible “bundle” of policies all at once?
- How do individual policies compare, within that bundle?
- What about at a “maximum” level? (Discussed in part two.)
My own perspective in this post will be to understand two questions:
- How quickly can we realistically hope to reduce emissions within the transportation sector?
- Which policies offer the greatest potential at a reasonable cost? (This will necessarily ignore other considerations, such as equity or acceptability. To me, the first question is “does it work?” and only then is it worth asking “is it fair?” and “is it politically realistic?”
The report itself was never freely available, but executive summary material and appendices were online until quite recently. As the report website has recently disappeared, I’ve reposted a few of the freely available items for reference:
Scope and Approach
There are three key items to be aware of when interpreting the study:
- The study scope focuses only on policies in two of four areas:
- included: travel activity changes by reducing the distance travelled or shifting to more carbon-efficient modes of travel.
- included: vehicle and system operations by improving traffic flow.
- not included: vehicle technology, such as electric vehicles
- not included: fuel technology, such as cellulosic ethanol Continue reading Moving Cooler, part 1