Marking one year since the Biden Administration announced its ambitious U.S. climate target, the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) and America Is All In released a new in-depth analysis detailing how an all-of-society approach to climate action from the transportation sector can contribute one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed to achieve at least 50% reductions by 2030.
The paper finds that we are already over halfway—19%—to reaching the emissions reductions needed from the transportation section to achieve the U.S. climate target. And through the remainder of the decade, we will need to reduce emissions by an additional 15%. The All-In scenario presented in this report offers a pathway to meet the necessary 34% reductions from the transportation sector through the remainder of the decade.
Policies and actions for 34% emissions reductions in the transportation sector from 2019-2030:
- Current policies and measures (19% or nearly 350 MtCO2): The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; existing federal fuel economy and emissions standards, state and local policies and incentives, and market force projections
- States, cities, and businesses (5% or 92 MtCO2): ZEV mandates; municipal fleet targets; improving mobility options; reducing vehicle miles traveled
- $7500 EV Tax Credit (3% or 55 MtCO2): Currently considered in Congressional legislation such as the Build Back Better Act; other incentives.
- Federal regulation (7% 120 MtCO2): Cost-effective regulatory policies, including MDVs and HDVs; scrappage programs for older, inefficient vehicles; more stringent CAFE standard.
This paper's analysis and writing were led by the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) with support from the World Resources Institute, RMI, and partners at the America Is All In coalition. This paper builds on previous analysis demonstrating how economy-wide, whole-of-society action can deliver the rapid, durable, and transformative change needed to cut emissions and set the stage for a fully decarbonized economy.
The CGS team behind this report includes:
- LEAD AUTHOR: Alicia Zhao, Research Associate, CGS
- Haewon McJeon, Associate Research Scholar, CGS
- Ryna Cui, Assistant Research Professor and Co-Director, China Program, CGS
- Gokul Iyer, Fellow, CGS
- Kathleen Kennedy, Postdoctoral Associate, CGS
- Shannon Kennedy, Senior Manager of Strategic Engagement, CGS
- Kowan O'Keefe, PhD Candidate, UMD School of Public Policy
- CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Nate Hultman, Director, CGS
Learn more about the report from the full release below. Download the report.
AMERICA IS ALL IN REPORT PROVIDES TRANSPORTATION PATHWAY TO TACKLE LARGEST SOURCE OF U.S. EMISSIONS AND KEEP PARIS AGREEMENT GOAL WITHIN REACH
New Analysis Shows that Bipartisan Infrastructure Law + Federal EV Tax Credit Alone Are Not Sufficient to Meet U.S. Climate Goal
Cutting Transportation Emissions to Meet NDC Also Requires Enhanced CAFE Standards, 100% Bus Fleet Electrification, and Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandates
WASHINGTON D.C. & NEW YORK — Exactly one year after the Biden administration announced its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030, America Is All In released the first in-depth look at how the U.S. can solve the biggest and most important piece of the U.S. climate puzzle: carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
The report, titled An “All-In” Pathway To 2030: Transportation Sector Emissions Reduction Potential, reveals that the transportation sector – the largest and fastest growing emitter of greenhouse gasses in the U.S. – can deliver one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed to successfully reach our climate target goal of 50-52 percent reductions by 2030 from 2005 levels—and with continued and accelerated efforts from states, cities, businesses and the federal government, we could reduce emissions in this sector by 34 percent, or over 600 MTCO2, through the remainder of the decade.
“An all-electric, pollution-free future is within reach, but U.S. policymakers must recognize that transportation is much more than infrastructure. To meet our 2030 climate goals, even bolder action is needed from Congress, the President, and local leaders across the country,” said Michael Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions and Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “By following the transportation pathway outlined in this report, we can secure a more sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future for all Americans, and further enhance U.S. climate leadership on the global stage.”
Since the announcement of the U.S. climate target, or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), new federal transport policies have been developed and passed. For example, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will lead to wider deployment of charging infrastructure. Today’s report shows that this legislation, which Congress passed in November, will enhance the rate of deployment of low-carbon transportation, but it is unable to deliver the necessary emissions reductions within the transportation sector on its own. Combined with current policies, the report shows how these measures would deliver over 300 million metric tons of CO2 (MtCO2), or half of the transportation sector reductions needed to hit the 2030 goal.
Rather than reduce emissions directly, the IIJA was designed to set up the infrastructure needed to enable critical energy system transformations, including the deployment of half a million electric vehicles. Additional strong climate action from Congress in the form of tax credits, investments, and other actions; from new and enhanced federal regulations; and new legislation and implementation from states, cities, and businesses would set the U.S. transportation sector on a pathway to reach the overall U.S. target. Today’s report details this set of policy pathways—and shows how they add up to reduce overall transportation emissions by 34 percent in the next eight years —helping to deliver a cleaner and healthier transportation fleet.
Here’s what that pathway to 34 percent transportation emissions reductions looks like:
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, along with current policies from all-of-society, get us 19 percent reductions from 2005 levels—over halfway towards our goal.
- Congress can achieve an additional 3 percent of emission cuts by passing a $7,500 federal EV tax credit.
- City and state governments, along with businesses and civil society, can contribute 5 percent through zero-emission vehicle mandates, municipal EV fleet targets, and vehicle miles traveled targets—now we’re nearly ¾ of the way towards our goal.
- To get over the finish line, the final 7 percent of reductions would come from federal regulation on heavy-duty vehicles, increased next-generation biofuels, and more stringent CAFE standards.
“One year ago the United States put forward an ambitious vision to grow our economy, lead internationally, and build a better America, all while doing our part to address climate change domestically,” said Prof. Nate Hultman, the corresponding author for the report and Director of the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland. “We always knew that rising to the climate challenge would be difficult. But as this report underscores, we have already made real progress within the transportation sector. Thanks to better fuel economy standards, state and local policies supporting cleaner transportation, and the recent infrastructure law, we are more than halfway to our transportation sector goals. Yet more will be needed from Congress to help deliver the rates of EV deployment and the power sector decarbonization needed to reach our climate goals—and keep global goals of limiting 1.5C alive.”
“The three specific policies outlined in this report will have a dramatic impact in meeting our climate goals,” said Sarah Ladislaw, Managing Director at RMI. “First, Congress passes a $7,5000 tax credit to make electric vehicles more affordable. Second, the Biden administration enforces stricter CAFE standards to reduce dangerous pollution. And third, cities and states pass mandates to phase-out international combustion engines and incentivize EVs.”
Today’s report comes weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the falling costs for renewable energy and electric vehicle batteries have slowed the growth of climate change over the past decade but that deep, immediate cuts to transportation emissions remain necessary for us to avoid the worst case scenario.
The report’s findings demonstrate that the U.S. goal of halving emissions by 2030 requires action at every level of government and across every part of society. While the Biden Administration implements the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Congress continues to work through the reconciliation package, strong leadership from cities, states, businesses, and civil society is critical to reaching our national climate goals.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm welcomed America Is All In’s analysis, saying “All Americans deserve the option to choose electric vehicles and spend less at the pump. This report provides a clear pathway for the United States to cut emissions from the transportation sector and stay on the path to reach our climate goals.”
This paper and analysis was led by the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) at the University of Maryland, along with support from RMI and World Resources Institute. These three organizations represent the analytical team of America Is All In. Visit www.americaisallin.com to access previous reports and analysis.
About America Is All In
America Is All In is the most expansive coalition of leaders ever assembled in support of climate action in the United States. Mobilizing thousands of U.S. cities, states, tribal nations, businesses, schools, and faith, health, and cultural institutions, the coalition is focused on pushing and partnering with the federal government to develop an ambitious, all-in national climate strategy that meets the urgency of the climate crisis; scaling climate action around the country to accelerate the transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy; and promoting the leadership of non-federal actors on the world stage.
Led by the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, and CEO of CommonSpirit Health Lloyd Dean, America Is All In is driving a nationwide movement to cut U.S. emissions in half or more by 2030 from 2005 levels and reach net zero emissions by 2050, while guarding against the impacts of climate disruption.
Alongside whole-of-government action on climate, America Is All In champions a whole-of-society mobilization to deliver the transformational change that science demands, with the goal of a healthy, prosperous, equitable, and sustainable future. To learn more or get involved, visit www.americaisallin.com. Twitter: @americaisallin #AmericaIsAllIn #AllInOnClimate
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
About the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS)
Through world-leading research and policy engagement, the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) at the University of Maryland seeks to change the way that governments, businesses, and people see possibilities for ambitious climate action. Founded in 2016 in response to the need for thought leadership to support global climate goals, its analytical programs advance ambitious national and subnational climate strategies, fossil phase-out, energy innovation, finance, and other major priorities. CGS currently supports nearly 30 researchers, and also works with a rich community of collaborators around the world. CGS is housed within the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Learn more at cgs.umd.edu.