November 21, 2014


Together Again: Linkages Between Transportation and Power in a Low Carbon Economy


1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


In 1973 the transportation sector and the power sector were linked through the oil market. In the United States petroleum constituted 22 percent of fossil fuel consumed by electricity generators and vehicles consumed only five times as much petroleum as power plants. Fast-forward 40 years and this link has been severed. Petroleum now constitutes only 1 percent of fossil fuels consumed by electricity generators and the ratio of petroleum consumed by vehicles to petroleum consumed by power plants has increased to almost 100. Meanwhile, electricity accounts for much less than one percent of total primary energy consumed by the transportation sector and the transportation sector consumes much less than 1 percent of electricity sales.  As the market share of electric vehicles grows, however, the transportation sector and the power sector will relink through electricity markets, starting in California, Oregon, and Washington, where the market shares of both electric vehicle and renewable electricity are growing rapidly. This linkage has important implications for climate policy, electricity policy, and transportation policy, which must themselves become much better integrated to achieve the carbon reductions that the Governors of these states have endorsed through the Pacific Coast Climate Collaborative.

Biographical Sketch

I am the Chief Operating Officer of NextGen Climate America Inc. and an NRDC Senior Fellow. My main focus is solutions to global warming, in particular developing federal and state regulations to place enforceable limits on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants. I have participated in scientific assessments of global warming through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and have monitored international climate negotiations since their inception. I earned my bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics at Harvard and have a doctorate from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. I became an environmentalist the first time I went backpacking on the continental divide above Boulder, Colorado. I recently moved back to Berkeley with my wife Diane and our dog Diva. We have three adult sons. I enjoy bicycling, hiking, and skiing when there is enough snow.

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