Transportation in the U.S. is responsible for 30 percent of our global warming pollution and 70 percent of our oil consumption. We cannot solve the energy and climate challenge without making our transportation system far cleaner and more efficient.
President Obama and the congressional leadership are moving quickly to pass an economic stimulus package that creates green jobs with a new, clean energy infrastructure. Public transportation, smart growth and green transportation alternatives are a crucial part of this effort.
Unfortunately, the road-building lobby is attempting to hijack this bill and divert billions of dollars to the construction of new, unnecessary roads, highways and bridges that would deepen our nation’s dependence on oil and increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Record high gas prices have working families suffering across the U.S. These prices are NOT caused by a shortage of oil drilling options, as some would have you believe. Rather, the problem is the result of decades of bad energy and transportation policy that has been commandeered by Big Oil and the Highway Lobby. Friends of the Earth is working to break their stranglehold on our energy and transportation policy.
If we want to solve global warming, we will have to reduce CO2 emissions from the transportation sector. Investing in public transportation -– light rail, streetcars, subways, commuter rail, and buses -- is one of the best ways to do this. In addition to driving down our carbon footprints, investments like these can also help drive down gasoline bills. Typical transit riders consume about 50 percent less gasoline on average than people with no access to transit, meaning they also spend 50 percent less on gasoline. Unfortunately, too few American families have access to quality, convenient public transportation, keeping people in the cars, CO2 emissions up, and gasoline bills high.
Transportation is the second largest and fastest growing source of U.S. CO2 emissions and personal vehicle use accounts for nearly 60 percent of transportation sector emissions, and more than 45 percent of U.S. oil consumption. Unfortunately, Lieberman-Warner does not adequately address increasing vehicle use, which is driving these numbers up. As a result, the transportation sector will likely miss Lieberman-Warner emissions reduction targets by 55 percent.
Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking an immediate response to a seven-year-old cruise ship pollution petition submitted in March of 2000. The petition asked the EPA to assess and regulate pollution from cruise ships.
Update: EPA has requested comments to the Draft Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report they issued as part of the settlement. This has given Friends of the Earth the opportunity to spell out the need for regulation in order to curb pollution from cruise ships. Read our Comments (pdf)
California's Pavley Law, which would limit CO2 emissions of cars and trucks in the state by around 30 percent, is being zealously blocked by the federal government.
In order for the duly enacted laws to take effect, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had to grant a waiver. The EPA deliberated for nearly two years, during which time the Supreme Court ruled the EPA had to view regulated CO2 as a pollutant and a federal judge rejected corporate arguments against the law. These rulings appeared to reinforce California’s claim that it had a right to regulate emissions and provided the EPA good reasons to grant the waiver. Unfortunately, the EPA formally refused the waivers at the end of 2007.
Not to be discouraged, Friends of the Earth is backing a bill in the U.S. Congress that would grant the waiver that EPA denied.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles represent one of the most immediate, dramatic, and affordable solutions for reducing petroleum use and global warming pollution from vehicles.
Plug-ins are capable of achieving more than 100 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 60 percent in California. Even greater reductions are possible as we add more renewable power sources, such as solar and wind, to our electric grid.
Importantly, no new fueling, production, or transportation infrastructure is required to achieve these profound greenhouse gas reductions; an extension cord and a standard outlet is all that is necessary to refuel the car’s electric battery.
Read our fact sheet on plug-in hybrids.
States, Cities and Environmental Groups Urge EPA to Reduce Global Warming Pollution from Aircraft
Coalition of environmental groups, states and regional governments filed petitions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging the agency to address the effects of vast amounts of global warming pollution from the world's aircraft fleet. The petitions are the first step in a process that requires the EPA to evaluate the current impacts of aircraft emissions, seek public comment and develop rules to reduce aircraft emissions or explain why it will not act. Earthjustice filed the environmental groups' petition on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Oceana and the Center for Biological Diversity.