February 3, 2012

Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Assessment - Applications to the Passenger Transportation Sector


Dr. Alissa Kendall, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Davis


Mitigation of climate change emissions in the United States and worldwide requires investment in new technologies and new infrastructure. Popular frameworks for thinking about climate change mitigation, such as a ‘wedge’ analyses, ignore the full life cycle emissions associated with different infrastructure and investment decisions. This talk examines climate change mitigation efforts for the passenger transportation sector from a life cycle perspective. It will focus in particular on two main avenues of inquiry: (i) the synthesis and enhancement of LCAs of transportation infrastructure and technologies including biofuels, advanced technology passenger cars, and high-speed rail; and (ii) new methods for characterizing greenhouse gas emissions that occur over time, which is particularly relevant for long-lived infrastructure and technology.

Biographical Sketch

Prof. Kendall conducts research to assess and improve the environmental sustainability of energy, transportation, and food systems. Her research uses and develops methods in the field of industrial ecology to inform policy and practice, with a particular focus on life cycle assessment and carbon accounting. Dr. Kendall joined UC Davis in 2007 after earning a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy and Civil & Environmental Engineering from University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems.