Highway and Climate Change: Mitigation Strategies


Tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation sources account for 29 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2008, and over 5 percent of global GHG emissions. Including other life cycle processes—such as the extraction and refining of fuel, the manufacture of vehicles and the construction and maintenance of infrastructure—the U.S. transportation sector accounts for almost 8 percent of global GHGs. The majority of transportation’s operating emissions, totaling 58 percent, come from light-duty vehicles, followed by freight trucks at 20 percent and aircraft at 12 percent. Between 1990 and 2008, GHG emissions from U.S. transportation increased 22 percent, while emissions from all other sectors increased by roughly 11 percent. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that in the absence of additional climate policies to reduce GHG emissions, baseline global GHG emissions from human sources will increase between 25 percent and 90 percent between 2000 and 2030, with CO2 emissions from energy use growing between 40 and 110 percent over the same period.

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