UCLA Identifying Strategies for Carbon Neutrality in Transportation

The transportation sector is the largest source of global-warming emissions in California and now a team of researchers from UCLA and other UC campuses will embark on a landmark study to achieve carbon neutrality from this sector.

Already experiencing hotter temperatures and other climate change effects, California has an ambitious goal: achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. How to comprehensively reduce emissions from a wide range of vehicles — from passenger cars to freight-hauling trains — has always been a vexing question. To address this, the California Environmental Protection Agency has partnered with the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies.

A team from UCLA, along with UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Irvine, will identify strategies to achieve carbon neutrality in the transportation sector by 2045. This will include analyzing which strategies most effectively and equitably motivate drivers and businesses to transition to zero-emission vehicles. The role of alternative fuels, as well as the impact of land use policy, will also be explored.

Researchers at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs play an important role in the study. J.R. DeShazo, director of the Luskin Center for Innovation, is one of the principal investigators and leads the center’s research on transportation electrification as the state’s electrical grid decarbonizes. This includes studies that inform clean vehicle policies and electric vehicle planning. The UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, also based in the Luskin School and involved in this study, is a leading expert on other strategies to reduce pollution from the transportation sector, including transit and land use planning.

The Budget Act of 2019 appropriated $1.5 million for this study. It also calls on the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to coordinate and consult on this study with other state agencies such as the Air Resources Board, Transportation Agency, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

The study is one of two contracted by CalEPA with the University of California to help the state achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. The other study, also announced today, will identify strategies to responsibly decrease demand and supply of fossil fuels. Draft study scopes were developed with input from three public workshops and written public comment, and in consultation with various state agencies.

For more, see: https://calepa.ca.gov/climate/carbon-neutrality-studies/