UC experts detail new standard for cleaner transportation fuels

University of California experts today released their much-anticipated blueprint for fighting global warming by reducing the amount of carbon emitted when transportation fuels are used in California.

This Low Carbon Fuel Standard, designed to stimulate improvements in transportation-fuel technologies, is expected to become the foundation for similar initiatives in other states, as well as nationally and internationally.

The new standard was commissioned in January by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He asked the universitys top transportation-energy experts to design a standard that would reduce carbon emissions from fuels by 10 percent by 2020. Carbon and other greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere and are a major cause of global climate change. In California, transportation fuels account for about 40 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions.

The standards authors are Professor Alex Farrell, director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley, and Professor Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis.

This new policy is hugely important, and has never been done before, said Sperling. It will likely transform the energy industries. And the 10 percent reduction is just the beginning. We anticipate much greater reductions after 2020.

In Part 1 of their report, completed in May, Farrell and Sperling evaluated the technical feasibility of achieving the 10 percent cut by 2020. They identified six scenarios based on a variety of different technologies that could meet or exceed this goal, and concluded that the goal was ambitious but attainable. At the end of June, the California Air Resources Board voted to start working toward that goal, with the new standard taking effect by January 2010.

Today, in Part 2, Sperling and Farrell examine many of the specific policy issues involved in designing a low carbon fuel standard. The LCFS,

Contact: Sylvia Wright
University of California - Davis

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