November 7, 2008

The U.S. Low-Carbon Fuel Legislation as Global Warming Solution


Dr. Sonia Yeh, ITS-Davis Research Scientist


California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) creates a state-wide goal of reducing the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuel by 10% by 2020 compared to the baseline year and applies to all fuel providers, including refiners, blenders, producers and importers. This reduction target is reachable but challenging, and many analytical, technical, and policy issues need to be examined in further detail and carefully addressed to ensure successful implementation of the LCFS. Among these, top priority issues are the quantification and certification of global greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as the development of better methods to study lifecycle emission factors, land use changes, climate impacts of emissions, treatment of market-mediated effects, and standards to ensure sustainability. California’s LCFS proceedings have been watched closely both nationally and internationally, e.g., the Northeast states, Canada, and the European Commission, and the standard will likely be adopted by other countries.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Sonia Yeh is a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis. Her research interests focus on energy and environmental research, especially the role of technological change, economic, and social changes on future energy demand, air emissions, and environmental outcomes. Much of her current research efforts involve with identifying opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. Her research also includes understanding the effect of government actions on environmental technology innovation, and modeling of learning-by-doing and technological change for large-scale, long-term integrated assessment models. Dr. Yeh also holds an adjunct assistant professor position at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University.