Energy Exchange

In 2021 we must set more ambitious targets for zero-emission trucks and buses

There is no question that 2020 was a hard year — for some, it was the hardest year of their lives. Yet despite the historic difficulty of 2020, there were some climate and air quality bright spots. For example, the march toward zero-emission trucks and buses is on. In 2021, we should increase our ambition.

Falling battery and vehicle prices, increased vehicle availability and a growing recognition that we must reduce climate and local air pollution from the transportation sector have sparked the transformation away from fossil fuel trucks and buses — classified as medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. In July, a coalition of 15 states and Washington D.C. committed to accelerating the transition of diesel trucks and buses to zero-emission alternatives. In so doing, they are committing to zero-emission sales targets — 30% of new truck and bus sales by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

Given that these states represent about one-third of the U.S. truck market, this commitment is a big step forward.

However, these goals do not represent the level of speed or scope needed to adequately address the significant health and climate change concerns posed by trucks and buses.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, NESCAUM / Comments are closed

Electrifying Texas’ successful emission reduction program

A new Environmental Defense Fund analysis finds that Texas’ successful emission reduction program could be even more powerful if it went electric — not just for reducing smog-forming nitrogen oxides and other local air pollutants, but for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and sparking job growth in the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.

Administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan provides financial incentives to reduce emissions from polluting vehicles and equipment. The bulk of TERP funding has been dedicated to quickening the replacement of larger diesel vehicles — medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Since 2001, more than 35,000 TERP projects totaling over $1.3 billion in grants have reduced upwards of 183,000 tons of NOx, a major driver of the state’s air quality challenges.

Applying TERP’s annual grants to spur the electrification of Texas’ truck and bus fleets would decrease NOx emissions faster and for as little as one-third the cost per ton of NOx compared to TERP’s past grant programs.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Texas / Comments are closed

The connection between jobs and addressing orphan oil and gas wells

All across the country right now, there are tens of thousands of officially documented “orphan” oil and gas wells creating environmental hazards for their communities. These are wells that the oil and gas industry walked away from because they became uneconomic over time. Rather than properly sealing them, they left state and federal taxpayers holding the bag. These wells can be big sources of air, water and climate pollution if left unaddressed.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more of these inactive, unplugged wells that need to be addressed. This is not to mention the potential for adding hundreds of thousands of currently active wells to the orphan well inventory as oil and gas producers struggle to survive the downturn in petroleum prices.

Luckily, efforts are underway in Congress and within the presidential transition plan to address these orphan wells. In his economic plan, President-elect Joe Biden laid out his vision for a cleaner and healthier future.

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Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas / Comments are closed

Will Trudeau make good on Canada’s 2025 climate promises?

This piece was originally published in The Hill Times

A lot can change in a short period of time.

Just a few months ago, I lauded Canada’s leadership on climate, in general, and on methane pollution in particular. In 2018, the Trudeau government introduced the world’s first national oil and gas regulations limiting emissions of methane, a powerful climate pollutant intensifying near-term global warming.

Then, in the wake of the global health and economic crisis, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a $1.7 billion Emission Reduction Fund to help put oil and gas workers back to work cleaning up tens of thousands of leaky abandoned wells. The investment combined with a $750 million fund to reduce methane and other pollution from oil and gas infrastructure would create up to 10,000 jobs and help stabilize the climate.

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Also posted in Canada, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New report shows truck and bus manufacturers are readying for a zero-emission future

The North American truck and bus market is on the cusp of a zero-emission future. There is a clear and urgent need to drive down pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which contribute to climate change and cause serious harm to human health. Companies, transit agencies and other organizations that operate large fleets understand this, and are moving swiftly to zero-emission alternatives. Manufacturers, recognizing the growing demand for zero-emission vehicles, are racing to bring more of these vehicles to market.

A new report from Environmental Defense Fund, The International Council on Clean Transportation and Propulsion Quebec demonstrates the magnitude of manufacturer investments. Race to zero: How manufacturers are positioned for zero-emission commercial trucks and buses in North America shows that every major truck and bus manufacturer is now developing at least one all-electric vehicle model or is part of an industry collaboration to bring zero-emission vehicles to market.

This growth in model availability demonstrates a marked change in an industry that, just a few years ago, had only a handful of zero-emission options on offer.

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Also posted in California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

Another study reveals Permian methane levels are abnormally high, reinforcing need for action

By Jon Goldstein and David Lyon

A new peer-reviewed study published today once again confirms the Permian Basin has some of the leakiest oil and gas wells in the country.

For the study, researchers with the University of Wyoming used a mobile methane laboratory to quantify emissions from 46 randomly selected well pads in New Mexico and 25 in Texas. They found those sites are emitting between 5 to 9 times more methane pollution than The Environmental Protection Agency estimates suggest.

This granular look at well pad emissions is a critical part of understanding what is causing the emissions. Earlier this year, EDF used this data to estimate total methane emissions across New Mexico and concluded the state was likely emitting up to one million metric tons of methane per year.

When combined with other measurement techniques, we can get an even clearer sense of the entire region’s methane footprint. The satellite-based TROPOMI methane instrument, as well as aerial surveys conducted through our PermianMAP project — can detect emissions from other types of oil and gas equipment.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Texas / Comments are closed