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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Meeting an 80% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation by 2050: A Case Study in California


This paper investigates how California may reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (i.e., 80in50). A Kaya framework that decomposes greenhouse gas emissions into the product of population, transport intensity, energy intensity, and carbon intensity is used to analyze emissions and mitigation options. Each transportation subsector, including light-duty, heavy-duty, aviation, rail, marine, agriculture, and off-road vehicles, is analyzed to identify specific mitigation options and understand its potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Scenario analysis shows that, while California’s 2050 target is ambitious, it can be achieved in transport if a concerted effort is made to change travel behavior and the vehicles and fuels that provide mobility. While no individual ‘‘Silver Bullet” strategy exists that can achieve the goals, a portfolio approach that combines strategies could yield success. The 80in50 scenarios show the impacts of advanced vehicle and fuels technologies as well as the role of travel demand reduction, which can significantly reduce energy and resource requirements and the level of technology development needed to meet the target.

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