The Greenlight blog shares the latest, original, forward-looking research by UC Davis on sustainable transportation, energy and climate-related challenges facing society. The blog highlights fact-based, data driven analysis and expert insights on the scientific, commercial, technological, environmental and societal issues related to the future of fuels, mobility and energy efficiency. Through this blog, workshops and publications, UC Davis seeks to inform and elevate public dialogue on government policy and business strategy.
Welcome to GreenLight, blog of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, Energy Institute, Energy Efficiency Center, Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy—and affiliated centers and programs. Here you will find news on the latest research conducted by our affiliated faculty and research members, along with our graduate students. Our aim is to inform government and industry decision-making regarding vehicles, fuels, infrastructure, and mobility on key sustainable transportation and energy issues. Please explore, share, and comment on issues you find insightful or interesting.
The photo above shows West Village, the zero net energy community which is home to many of our transportation and energy research centers and institutes.
-Daniel Sperling, Professor and Director, ITS-Davis and the Energy Institute
The Paris Climate Accord reached on Saturday, December 12, feels like a home run. Nearly 200 countries fully agreed on text in which they pledge to make large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years, with mechanisms to help ensure that this goal is achieved. It includes quantified CO2 mitigation commitments from all major economies around the world; mechanisms for reporting and verifying progress; commitments for $100 billion in financing of actions; and many other key elements.
I arrived in Paris to (ironically) unseasonably warm temperatures, and a strange mix: a festive Christmas-time atmosphere combined with a paramilitary police presence at almost every street corner, keeping watch over the throngs.
With the elusive goal of forging a legally binding global climate agreement just a few months away, climate scientists are weighing how to get the world on track to limit climate change to a two-degree Celsius increase.
Who’s most likely to drive an electric vehicle? An environmentally conscious consumer, many would respond. One of the key societal benefits of electric vehicles is that they produce zero tailpipe emissions and result in far fewer carbon emissions per mile travelled. This means that EVs can help mitigate the issues of climate change and urban air pollution, which arguably are some of the most prevalent issues of our time.
Can we reach very low carbon trucking by 2050?
The state of California is targeting an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and recently announced its goal to reduce fossil fuel use in transportation by 40% by 2030. The U.S. federal government is also looking for new ways to reduce emissions from transport. One promising area to achieve both goals is in the tighter regulation of medium and heavy-duty trucks. A new UC Davis research study, “Strategies for Transitioning to Low-Carbon Emission Trucks in the United States,”* concludes that the trucking sector can offer significant reductions in both fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions through increased efficiency, electrification and alternative fuels. However the study cautions that achieving an 80% reduction in GHGs in the trucking sector by 2050 will be very challenging.