Reslicing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The conventional wisdom has been that transportation in our region was responsible for about a third of our Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Metro has just commissioned a new inventory of emissions, and came up with a lower number, about 25%.

Of that, about 3/5ths is “local passenger traffic” (i.e., cars) and 2/5ths is our long distance travel (planes, trains, etc.). Transit is a fraction of a percent and local freight is small as well.

The interesting finding in Metro’s inventory is that “materials” make up almost half of emission sources. Materials include the stuff you buy (that flatscreen) and the food you eat. Interestingly, when you trace it back, about a quarter of the emissions from those materials are from transportation (getting them to you – so long-distance freight becomes significant).

Food for thought.

3 responses to “Reslicing Greenhouse Gas Emissions”

  1. Its not clear to me whether the amount of emissions from transportation is lower than expected or the amount from other sources is higher. The total emissions in this report, 30,000,000, is several magnitudes higher than the 8,809,630 for 2007 in this report

    It appears the real difference is a better accounting of other sources, as the report states:

    “Most analyses of the Northwest and of cities in the region focus on direct emissions from the use of fossil fuels and therefore have focused on energy and transportation systems. However, recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research2 suggests that those emissions for which we are indirectly responsible– especially those resulting from the production of material goods – comprise a large share of our emissions and are ignored by conventional analyses … the methodology provides a sense of scale with a clear message: consumption matters as much as energy and transportation.”

  2. Well, here’s an idea:

    Heavy-Duty EV Manufacturer Proterra Receives $20M Investment from MK Energy and Infrastructure
    9 June 2010

    Proterra Inc, a designer and manufacturer of heavy-duty drive systems, energy storage systems, vehicle control systems and complete transit buses, announced $20 million in funding from cleantech investor, MK Energy and Infrastructure, LLC (MK E+I). The investment will accelerate the construction of Proterra’s first full-scale manufacturing plant in Greenville, SC, which will break ground later this year and have capacity to make 2,500 EcoRide BE-35 buses annually and employ 1,300 workers over the next five years.

    The EcoRide BE-35 is a fast-charge, 35′ battery-electric transit bus that replaces traditional diesel buses. The EcoRide BE-35 achieves 500% greater fuel efficiency than conventional diesel buses and more than 400% greater efficiency than the most advanced hybrid transit buses traveling the roads today, according to the Federal Transit Administration sponsored Altoona, Pennsylvania Bus Testing Center. (Earlier post.)

    The BE-35 features Proterra’s light-weight composite body; ProDrive powered by a UQM PowerPhase 150 electric propulsion system; TerraVolt Li-ion energy storage system; and on-route rooftop FastCharging station to charge the bus in 5-10 minutes. The vehicle achieves between 18 and 29 miles per gallon diesel fuel equivalent fully loaded with 68 passengers.

    Over a 12-year lifecycle, Proterra buses will save an average of $400,000 per bus in fuel costs as compared to a conventional diesel bus and almost $300,000 when compared to advanced hybrid buses. The neighborhood-friendly EcoRide BE-35 also reduces noise pollution to a fraction of that produced by today’s traditional diesel buses.

    Funds from the MK E+I investment will also be used to advance Proterra’s clean technology research and to promote policies in support of clean commuting. Proterra Proterra’s systems are scalable to all forms of commercial buses and Class 6-8 trucks.

    MK Energy and Infrastructure (MK E+I) was established by The Michael Kenwood Group, LLC in July 2009 to develop business opportunities in proprietary infrastructure assets, advanced stage clean energy technology, and late stage development and operating renewable energy projects and infrastructure, both in OECD countries and in emerging markets.

    or, maybe a Volvo diesel-electric if you’ve got the bucks (got 124 mpg?):

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