WBEZ | carbon emissions http://www.wbez.org/tags/carbon-emissions Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Traffic congestion's carbon footprint http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/traffic-congestions-carbon-footprint-105367 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/carusophoto/4017256834/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/traffic-by-john-caruso-via-flickr.jpg" title="Traffic on I-94 from the Van Buren street bridge. (John Caruso via Flickr)" /></a></p><p>Traffic congestion produced 56 billion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) pollution in 2011 &mdash; roughly equivalent to the emissions from the electricity use of 3.8 million homes for one year &mdash; according to the Texas A&amp;M Transportation Institute&rsquo;s <a href="http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/">Urban Mobility Report</a> released Tuesday.</p><p>While the report&rsquo;s main innovation was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-chicago-traffic-bad-leave-early-105360">a new metric that predicted the unpredictably of metro area traffic</a>, it also included for the first time an estimate of the additional CO<sub>2</sub> emissions attributed to traffic congestion. That does not include emissions from cars traveling when roadways are uncongested.</p><p>Transportation is responsible for roughly one third of U.S. carbon emissions, making it the second largest-emitting sector (behind electricity generation). Worldwide transportation represents <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727080836.htm">20 percent</a> of total energy consumption.</p><p><a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cad=rja&amp;ved=0CEAQFjAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uctc.net%2Faccess%2F35%2Faccess35_Traffic_Congestion_and_Grenhouse_Gases.shtml&amp;ei=pasRUbSzLO7xyAHCnIH4Cg&amp;usg=AFQjCNH6HMuR6qigf7k9-9XQbAVN5T1IIA&amp;sig2=FlwgZ9weMMItgkzxSXWgLQ&amp;bvm=bv.41934586,d.aWc">It is difficult to measure</a> congestion&rsquo;s contribution to national carbon emissions &mdash; estimates are sensitive to highly variable factors like driving behavior, vehicle and roadway types, and local traffic conditions &mdash;but the report&rsquo;s stab at quantifying the issue could help further visualize a largely ignored pollution problem.</p><p>Noted climate scientist <a href="http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/people/faculty/personalpages/ralley/">Richard Alley</a> has pointed out that if the roughly 1 pound of CO<sub>2</sub> per mile that cars emit were &ldquo;horse ploppies,&rdquo; instead of invisible gas, every road in the country would be underneath an inch of poop within one year.</p><p>&ldquo;Fuel wasted in congested traffic reached a total of 2.9 billion gallons &mdash; enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome four times,&rdquo; the report reads. That is the same as in 2010, but less than the 3.2 billion gallons wasted in 2005.</p><p>There are a few key ways to improve the fuel efficiency of cars. Scientists and engineers are working on lighter vehicles, more efficient engines, and engines that run on alternative fuels. But advocates of policy solutions say just changing driving patterns can also have a significant impact.</p><p>The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning touts <a href="http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/congestion-pricing">congestion pricing</a> as one such intervention, citing <a href="http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/policy-updates/-/blogs/economic-impacts-of-express-toll-lanes-in-the-chicago-region">long-term economic impacts</a> to boot &mdash; CMAP&rsquo;s Jesse Elam <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-02-05/afternoon-shift-road-rage-105356">talked about their plan on The Afternoon Shift</a>.</p><p>Research out of the <a href="http://www.uctc.net/papers/846.pdf">University of California at Riverside</a>, which has its fair share of traffic, found metering ramp entry, lowering average driving speeds to 55 mph and reducing traffic congestion through variable speed limits could each potentially lower CO<sub>2</sub> emissions 7 to 12 percent. The combined effects of one or more of these changes could be greater, their report said.</p><p>&ldquo;Including CO<sub>2</sub>&nbsp;emissions into the [Urban Mobility Report] provides another dimension to the urban congestion problem,&rdquo; said researcher and co-author David Schrank in <a href="http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/media-information/press-release/">a press release</a>.&nbsp; &ldquo;It points to the importance of implementing transportation improvements to reduce congestion.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Researchers said they plan to include more metrics of air quality in future reports.</p></p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/traffic-congestions-carbon-footprint-105367 Evanston wins environment award, but struggles to reach emissions goal http://www.wbez.org/story/evanston-wins-environment-award-struggles-reach-emissions-goal-88019 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.7931971771176904" style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">The City of Evanston Friday won the 2011 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards for small-city competitors at the U.S. Conference of Mayors conference in Baltimore. The conference recognized the northern suburb of Chicago for its aggressive </span><a href="http://www.cityofevanston.org/news/2010/09/evanston-climate-action-plan-annual-report-now-online/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 153); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">Climate Action Plan</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">, which was adopted by Evanston’s City Council in 2008 as a roadmap to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Evanston is one of 1,053 signatories to </span><a href="http://www.usmayors.org/climateprotection/documents/mcpAgreement.pdf"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 153); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">. Cities that sign on to the agreement are striving to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. For Evanston, that meant reducing its carbon emissions by 13 percent.</span></p><div style="background-color: transparent; margin-top: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-right: 0px; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">“It’s an affirmation that all the work that all the work our citizens and city staff have done to reduce our carbon footprint has been worth it, and we’re on track the right track,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. Tisdahl spoke by phone from the conference in Baltimore on Friday after accepting the award. But, she added, “There’s a lot of work still to do.”</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">Tisdahl said that while the city has reduced overall energy usage by 2 percent, and has cut carbon emissions from municipal operations by 22 percent, she was “surprised and upset” to learn that gasoline consumption in Evanston has risen. According to the city’s Office of Sustainability, the amount of gasoline sold in the city has jumped 32 percent since 2005, for reasons not yet known. The office estimates greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector by tracking gasoline sales.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">While Evanston’s governing apparatus has reduced its own carbon footprint, that still accounts for only a small portion of the city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. Tisdahl says it’s unlikely that Evanston will meet its 13 percent goal within the next six months, but she still believes that it can meet that goal — eventually. “We’d need some big things like wind turbines in the lake, or some of our major plans would have to come to fruition.”</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">A committee will present more information about Evanston’s options with wind turbines to the City Council on Monday.</span></div></p> Sat, 18 Jun 2011 10:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/evanston-wins-environment-award-struggles-reach-emissions-goal-88019 The future of Illinois cap-and-trade after Chicago Climate Exchange http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/future-illinois-cap-and-trade-after-chicago-climate-exchange <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/carbon trade.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The recent announcement that the Chicago Climate Exchange will soon cease its carbon trading system saddened some environmentalists. At one point, members did a fair bit of business, voluntarily buying and selling carbon emissions, metric tons of&nbsp; CO<sub>2</sub>, as commodities.</p> <p>But when a proposed federal cap-and-trade program stalled in the Senate, the market for carbon died down as well.</p><p>Under cap-and-trade, companies and other entities face limits on how much greenhouse gases they can emit. If they go over their limit they can purchase carbon credits from businesses which pollute less. But cap-and-trade isn&rsquo;t dead yet! There&rsquo;s talk of a new market that would include over 10 U.S. states and some Canadian provinces as well. <br />&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; got an update on North America&rsquo;s shifting cap-and-trade market from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/search/dispatcher.front?Query=Michael+Hawthorne&amp;target=article&amp;sortby=display_time+descending">Michael Hawthorne</a>.&nbsp; Hawthorne reports on the environment for the Chicago Tribune.</p></p> Tue, 07 Dec 2010 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/future-illinois-cap-and-trade-after-chicago-climate-exchange