Carbon Neutrality Study 1: Driving California’s Transportation Emissions to Zero

Research Team: Austin L. Brown, Daniel Sperling, Kelly L. Fleming, Timothy Lipman, Lew Fulton, Jean Daniel Saphores, Gil Tal, Colin Murphy, Susan Shaheen, Bernadette Austin, Juan Carlos Garcia Sanchez, Elliot Martin, Marshall Miller, Michael Hyland, Susan Handy, Mark A. Delucchi, Daniel Coffee, JR DeShazo, Carolyn Abrams, Debapriya Chakraborty, Sina Dabag, Adam Davis, Kate Forest, Alan Jenn, Seth Karten, Blake Lane, Michael Mackinnon, Elliot Martin, Monica Ramirez-Ibarra, Stephen Ritchie, Sara Schremmer, Joshua Segui, Susan Shaheen, Andre Tok, Aditya Voleti, Julie Witcover, Allison Yang

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA

Problem Statement: California has a history of leading on climate policy and has increased its ambition in recent years. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation account for half of all emissions in the state (including emissions from oil refineries),but have been challenging for the state to address. The Budget Act of 2019 (AB 74) funded two studies, administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency, to: 1) identify strategies to reduce emissions from transportation energy use, and 2) identify strategies to manage the decline in fossil fuel production and associated emissions in parallel with reductions in demand. The first study was conducted by the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies at four campuses, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCLA. The second study was conducted by UC Santa Barbara.

Project Description: The University of California Institute of Transportation Studies (UC ITS) was selected to lead the study focusing on strategies to transition California's transportation system to a carbon-neutral basis by 2045, including transitioning to zero emission vehicles, accelerating the use of alternative fuel sources, and reducing vehicle miles traveled. As an intermediate step, the UC ITS published a synthesis of prior research in October 2020 that provides background, policy context, and a “business as usual” scenario. The final report released in April 2021 identifies scenarios, assumptions, and related strategies, tools, options, tradeoffs and benefits for areas where action can be taken now, as well as where additional actions, targets, policies, research and technology development are needed in the medium and longer term. The policy options outlined in the study, when combined, could lead to a zero-carbon transportation system by 2045, while also improving equity, health, and the economy.

Status: Completed