Two Bay Area 'voices' illustrate that lowering carbon content of fuel and increasing its efficiency hardly gets at the root of the transportation-global warming problem -- auto dependency, and offer three strategies to solve it.
In this commentary, Stuart Cohen and Seth Schneider of the Oakland-based Transportation & Land Use Coalition show how global warming is more than a technology challenge.
"California is leading the way to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the carbon content of our fuel."
But is that enough to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions?
In the Bay area, "the transportation sector accounts for a staggering 50 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions -- which is even higher than California's average of 40 percent."
"If we only focus on fuel efficiency and carbon content, as California continues to grow it may add another 10-15 million clean fuel vehicles. And if we continue to use the same suburban design standards for our land use planning, each of these vehicles will demand seven parking spaces (at homes, offices, grocery stores, etc.).
Increased fuel efficiency is necessary, but not enough. We have to get to the source of the problem: our addiction to driving, which is rooted in bad land use planning and auto-oriented communities that are not conducive to walking or bicycling. Building a new coal plant locks us in to dirty energy for 60 years. Building auto-dependent sprawl communities locks us into excessive driving for the next 100 years or more.
We need to show California's regulators and elected leaders that it is possible to reduce driving by combining three strategies: fast, reliable, and affordable transit; walkable, bikable communities that are compact enough to protect our open spaces; and prices for driving and transit that really reflect their true costs, combined with education to get people to try alternatives to automobiles."
Thanks to MTC-ABAG library