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Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Integration into Transportation Decision Making

4 - New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Case Study Transportation Solutions to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Diane Turchetta

Governor Douglas (Vermont) pointed out that "Our energy choices have a clear impact on the environmental legacy we leave our children. The positions we have defined reflect the importance of increased regional cooperation in the fight against climate change and atmospheric pollution, while ensuring energy security and economic development. The productive discussions over the past two days have allowed a frank assessment of the measures that we could, and should, implement."

Premier Charest (Quebec), in turn, stated that "Prosperity and environmental protection must no longer be mutually exclusive. Given the extent of the situation, the time has come to replace isolated actions with the implementation of joint solutions in the energy and transportation fields. I am proud to see that Québec's environmental positions, backed up by a firm plan to combat climate change, have been favourably received by our neighbours and partners. Together, we agree that we must do more for the future of the planet."

NEG/ECP Ministerial Forum for Regional Energy and Environmental Solutions, Québec City, February 11-12, 2007

INTRODUCTION

This case study outlines and analyzes the process undertaken by the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) to develop transportation-related options and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a multi-jurisdictional and multi-national perspective. The report begins by describing the origins and goals of the NEG/ECP Climate Change Action Plan. The next section outlines the policy approach and process undertaken by the NEG/ECP to develop solutions and strategies to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions in the region.

The report then identifies specific actions identified by the NEG/ECP that could potentially have both direct and indirect impacts on the transportation planning process. The final section describes efforts taken by NEG/ECP members to address climate change issues. This section provides information on efforts taken by the Northeastern states and the Eastern Canadian Provinces to reduce GHG emissions with a particular focus on transportation-related programs and strategies.

The report concludes with a summary of key elements that made the NEG/ECP process a success, which could be utilized by other areas, particularly multi-state regions, which are beginning to consider options to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector.

OVERVIEW

NEG/ECP is an organization of the six New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) governors and five Eastern Canadian (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec) premiers.

The NEG/ECP first met in 1973. This informal regional alliance, though, has existed since colonial days, with the region sharing extensive trade, economic, energy, environmental, and cultural ties. The NEG/ECP is not an incorporated entity. It consists of two secretariats (the NEGC in Boston and the ECP in Halifax) and enters into voluntary agreements (not legally binding treaties or mandates) between the states and provinces.

In July 2001, the NEG/ECP adopted the "Climate Change Action Plan"27, the first multi-jurisdictional / multi-national initiative of its type. The Plan originated at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, meeting of the NEG/ECP in July 2000, when the regions' governors and premiers asked their respective environmental and energy agencies to draft a plan for reducing the northeast's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and adapting to the impacts of a changing climate.

The Plan identifies three major targets for GHG emissions in the region:

  • Short-Term Goal - Reduce regional GHG emissions to 1990 emissions by 2010.
  • Mid-Term Goal - Reduce regional GHG emissions by at least 10% below 1990 emissions by 2020, and establish an iterative five-year process, commencing in 2005, to adjust the goals if necessary and set future emissions reduction goals.
  • Long-Term Goal - Reduce regional GHG emissions sufficiently to eliminate any dangerous threat to the climate; current science suggests this will require reductions of 75-85% below current levels.

These targets are to be achieved on a regional basis with states and provinces contributing to the overall reduction in aggregate but not necessarily in equal measure by each jurisdiction.

The Plan elaborates on nine areas of action to achieve the reduction targets, adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, and foster regional cooperation: 

  1. The Establishment of a Regional Standardized GHG Emissions Inventory
  2. The Establishment of a Plan for Reducing GHG Emissions and Conserving Energy
  3. The Promotion of Public Awareness
  4. State and Provincial Governments to Lead by Example
  5. The Reduction of Greenhouse Gases from the Electricity Sector
  6. The Reduction of the Total Energy Demand through Conservation
  7. The Reduction and/or Adaptation of Negative Social, Economic, and Environmental Impacts of Climate Change
  8. A Decrease in the Transportation Sector's Growth in GHG Emissions (emphasis added)
  9. The Creation of a Regional Emissions Registry and the Exploration of a Trading Mechanism

According to the NEG/ECP, transportation produces greater than a third of the GHG emissions in New England and Eastern Canada and is growing more rapidly than any other sector. GHG emissions from transportation combustion in the NEG/ECP region rose from 109 (million metric tons of CO2 equivalent) in 1990 to 124 MMTCO2E in 2000, an increase of almost 14 percent. More than half of transportation-related GHG emissions come from light-duty motor vehicles. The next largest source is heavy-duty trucks, and the remainder of emissions comes from locomotive, marine, and other transportation sources.

POLICY CONTEXT

Approach

The NEG/ECP determined that in order to reduce emissions in the sector, it would be necessary to bring together environmental and transportation officials, municipal decision-makers, climate change stakeholders, environmental scientists, businesses, and other interested parties to discuss the development and implementation of transportation-related strategies and options to reduce emissions.

In December 2006, the NEG/ECP organized a forum in Portland, Maine on "Transportation Solutions to Climate Change." The purpose of the meeting was to develop a series of recommendations on potential transportation initiatives which could be pursued in the NEG/ECP region to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions. The December forum consisted of a series of presentations and case studies from NEG/ECP representatives, and other invited speakers on alternative and clean fuels, transportation technology and logistics, transportation investment solutions, and methods to reduce vehicle miles traveled. Preliminary recommendations were presented at the Ministerial Forum on Energy and Environment, which was held in February 2007 in Quebec City, and final recommendations were presented at the 31st Conference of the NEG/ECP held in Prince Edward Island in June 2007.28

Seven transportation action items were adopted at the June 2007 conference including:

  1. Development of environmentally friendly biofuels that reduce CO2 and other emissions using local feedstocks and technology
  2. Promotion of fuel efficiency in all modes of transportation through incentives for efficient technologies on the market, research and development initiatives for new and emerging technologies, partnerships with the private sector, and public awareness programs
  3. Expansion of alternative transportation and commuter services and facilities
  4. Alignment of infrastructure funding with energy and climate goals by encouraging energy-efficient development in municipalities and regional entities
  5. Use of life-cycle GHG and carbon emissions analyses to set indicators for policy and project planning, when appropriate
  6. Collaboration with the private sector to seek new opportunities to enhance regional interconnectivity and efficiency of freight networks in the region
  7. Governors and Premiers will seek to adopt clean car programs including the CO2 and air quality standards, such as California standards, throughout entire region

In addition, the Governors and Premiers agreed to appoint a regional standing task force of environmental and transportation officials to pursue the implementation of the action items, or any other transportation initiatives to reduce emissions, and to set a regional goal for GHG reductions from the transportation sector. The concept of this committee began with the governors and premiers' resolution adopted in Rhode Island in 2006 mandating that the NEG/ECP convene a ministerial forum on energy and the environment and report back with measures to address issues of sustainable and secure energy development. The committee that developed recommendations for the February 2007 forum suggested that transportation and environment officials collaborate on the development of an action plan to reduce emissions associated with the transportation sector in keeping with objectives set out in the NEG/ECP Climate Change Action Plan.

The Energy and Environment Resolution (31-1) adopted in June 2007 directed the new Transportation and Air Quality Steering Committee (TAQC) to produce a regional Transportation and Air Quality Action Plan. The TAQC first met in Quebec City October 29-30, 2007 and continues to meet periodically to develop transportation policy and action recommendations for the NEG/ECP. The following describes discussion items from the initial meeting.

Review of Regional Transportation Initiatives

In order to avoid any duplication of effort, the TAQC reviewed transportation initiatives already underway in the region including:

    I-95 Corridor Coalition Initiative - The coalition is an alliance of transportation agencies and related organizations from the State of Maine to the State of Florida, with affiliate members in Canada. The briefing book included a copy of a recently completed Northeast Rail Operations Study that identifies trends which will impact the ability of the region's railroads to accommodate additional passengers and freight.
    Northeast CanAm Connections Study - Under the leadership of the State of Maine, the northeast states and provinces collaborated on a study to examine the adequacy of East-West transportation connections as far east as the port of Halifax and as far west as the Toronto and Buffalo markets. The study assesses whether the transportation infrastructure is sufficient to take advantage of economic opportunities within the region.
    Coalition of Northeast Governors - An association of northeast governors (NEGC governors plus New York and New Jersey) who submitted recommendations to Congress regarding the reauthorization of TEA-21, the Federal legislation authorizing transportation programs and expenditures for multi-year periods.
    Atlantic Gateway - A Canadian Federal funding program that supports the development of infrastructure and policies that assist the Atlantic Provinces in taking advantage of increased container traffic via the Suez Canal.
    Ontario-Québec Corridor - Under the same gateway/corridor program, Ontario and Québec have agreed to develop a strategic, integrated, and globally competitive transportation system that facilitates the movement of international commerce.

Overview of Jurisdictional Initiatives

Each State and province was asked to report on current and planned activities that may contribute to the development of a transportation air quality action plan.

Following a roundtable discussion of State and provincial initiatives, the participants listed all initiatives they felt would make a worthwhile contribution to GHG emission reductions. Participants noted that collaborative activities may have greater impact, but local programs contribute to the overall reduction of GHG emissions as well. Participants developed a list of 39 issues and initiatives. The list also included a relative weighting of votes in support of each initiative. The top four issues/initiatives included regional rail connectivity (inter-modalism); 0.7 cent fuel carbon levy; transportation and land use best practices; and the adoption of low emissions standards (CAL-LEV).

Several observations were noted relative to the list of proposals:

  • The Canadian Federal government has imposed a 5% biofuel requirement (2010) and a 2% biodiesel requirement (2012); however, the standards are averaged nationally and may not invoke increased biofuels sales in Atlantic Canada.
  • Québec has invested in two cellulosic test plants with anticipated production of six million litres by 2010.
  • Connectivity and intermodalism initiatives need to be broadly defined to include both passenger and freight issues.
  • Life-cycle analysis may be an extremely complex issue to coordinate regionally - Québec and Massachusetts have begun some early assessments and will share their approaches with the committee.
  • The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management low carbon fuel study and some initial assessments by Federal departments may provide a basis to address life-cycle analysis.
  • The committee needs to determine whether the objective of the full cost of transportation options initiative is to change behavior or to raise revenues.

Development of a Transportation and Air Quality Action Plan

The NEG/ECP organized five sub-committees to develop action plans and proposals for consideration at the meeting held in January 2008 in Portland, Maine. The action plan sub-committees include:

  • Biofuels
  • Pricing - reflecting the cost of carbon
  • Regional Rail Connectivity and Intermodalism
  • Transportation and Land-Use
  • Low Emission Vehicle Standards

All sub-committees acknowledged that current technology will not achieve the 2050 80% reduction target; instead, they were to assess the potential of current technology and consider measures that support and encourage development of more effective technology to fill the gap. The sub-committees initially focused on what activities could be undertaken to address 2020 reduction targets. Each sub-committee undertook a resource and literature search in their area and developed a framework for action that was reviewed during the January 2008 meeting. Ideally, proposals under consideration were to include some form or metrics and start/stop dates.

The work of the sub-committees formed the basis for the principal categories in the action plan, which follows the format of the other three NEG/ECP action plans. The sub-committees developed goals for the respective action categories, as well as proposed actions that can be pursued to achieve those goals.

In addition to literature searches, the committee discussed the issue of involving outside resources in the action plan process. Several Federal (US and Canada) agencies were noted as valuable partners in the area of reducing vehicle emissions. It was agreed that other government and non-government entities need to be involved in pursuing TAQC activities. The involvement of outside agencies was determined on an ad hoc basis dependent on need. Committee members were consulted for advice on potential government and non-government partners.

The NEG/ECP determined that private sector stakeholders are another valuable resource and called for a management strategy to validate the TAQC Action Plan. One suggestion was to convene a ministerial forum on transportation and air quality similar to the one held in Québec City.

The NEG/ECP passed Resolution 32-1 in September 2008, accepting the Transportation and Air Quality Action Plan, and directing environment and transportation officials to coordinate resources and strategies to implement recommendations of the action plan while recognizing the need for flexibility for the jurisdictions. The Resolution directs the TAQC to coordinate discussions with multi-modal freight and passenger system operators and public-private stakeholders by improving modal coordination and to monitor program development in other countries and jurisdictions that "generate price signals to fuel consumers and operate market-based mechanisms such as the exchange of carbon credits or other efficient mechanism to fund transportation investment focused on reducing VMT and GHG emissions."

The Transportation and Air Quality Action Plan is a concise document that provides a framework for collaborative actions that will reduce emissions from the transportation sector.29 The plan explains why actions are required and includes goals and 34 recommendations organized in categories for each of the seven action items:

  1. Transportation and Air Quality Committee
  2. Transportation Planning
  3. Land Use
  4. Low/No-Carbon Fuels
  5. Pricing and Incentive Mechanisms
  6. Clean Car Programs
  7. Regional Freight Policy

The plan incorporates the specific actions and targets established for the transportation sector in the NEG/ECP Climate Change Action Plan 2001, as well as the actions agreed to at the February 2007 Ministerial Forum on Energy and the Environment.

TAQC working groups are developing recommendations to present to the NEG/ECP on the following topics:

  • Pricing and Incentive Mechanisms
  • Freight Policy
  • Land Use
  • Transportation Planning
  • Low Emission Vehicles
  • Low Carbon Fuels

LINKAGE TO THE TRANSPORTATION PLANNING PROCESS

There has been growing interest regarding the linkages between the transportation planning process and climate change issues. This growing focus encompasses both the significant role that the transportation sector contributes to global GHG emissions and the vulnerability of the nation's transportation infrastructure to the effects of climate change. Since MPOs and State DOTs play a vital role in determining long-range transportation investments and strategies for time periods of 20 years or more, and these investment decisions have major impacts on jurisdictions' transportation-related GHG emissions, the process by which these decisions are made will undoubtedly come under much scrutiny from individuals, groups, and organizations working to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector.

Two of the seven transportation action items adopted at the June 2007 conference could have both direct and indirect impacts on the transportation planning process. The development of land-use strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and promote mixed use areas and the creation of a link between GHG emissions as a result of transportation policies and projects will require new and innovative approaches by transportation planners.

Alignment of Infrastructure Funding with Energy and Climate Goals in Development

The NEG/ECP identified the following three mechanisms to achieve this action:

  • Redevelop city, small town, and village areas, including brownfields, already served by basic infrastructure. Consider these areas and new compact, mixed-use growth centers before supporting new wastewater, transportation, and other state-supported facilities in the undeveloped countryside.
  • Encourage compact, mixed use development, such as transit oriented design, by working with towns and cities to revise their planning and zoning requirements to encourage traditional village centers that rely less on automobiles access and encourage pedestrian, bike, and transit travel options.
  • Provide technical assistance and other resources to municipalities to assist in the preparation of municipal level energy and climate change action plans. These plans set municipal carbon reduction targets and include strategies such as the use of alternative fuels in municipal fleets, local and neighborhood sponsored car share and rideshare programs, and park and ride facilities.

Use of Life-Cycle GHG and Carbon Emission Analysis for Policy and Project Planning

Although the NEG/ECP did not list detailed mechanisms to achieve this action, it was noted that a lifecycle analysis to estimate resulting GHG emissions is necessary not only from the transportation mode, but also fuel production, fuel distribution, manufacturing, and other processes. The TAQC will determine if transportation measures have adequate lifecycle estimates associated with them. If not, then suggested sources will be recommended.

Northeastern States and ECP Actions to Address GHG Emissions

The NEG/ECP Climate Change Action Plan specifies nine actions that its member states and provinces should undertake to achieve the emission reduction goals outlined in the Plan. The nine actions include:

    Action Item 1 - Establishment of a Regional Standardized GHG Emissions Inventory
    Goal: Each jurisdiction should establish a standardized inventory beginning with 1999 GHG emissions levels, reported every three years.
    Action Item 2 - Establishment of a Plan for Reducing GHG Emissions and Conserving Energy
    Goal: Each jurisdiction should create a plan articulating measures for achieving GHG reductions in view of the regional short and midterm targets.
    Action Item 3 - Promotion of Public Awareness
    Goal: By 2005, make the public aware of the problems and impact of climate change and what actions they can take at home and at work to reduce the release of GHGs. The public should also be made cognizant of adaptive measures they can accomplish.
    Action Item 4 - Need for State and Provincial Governments to Lead by Example
    Goal: Reduce end-use emissions of GHGs through improved energy efficiency and lower carbon fuels within the public sector by 25 percent by 2012, as measured from an established baseline.
    Action Item 5 - Reduction of GHGs from the Electricity Sector
    Goal: Reduce the amount of CO2 emitted per MWh of electricity use within the region by 20% of current emission rate by 2025.
    Action Item 6 - Reduction of the Total Energy Demand through Conservation
    Goal: By 2025, increase the amount of energy saved through conservation programs (as measured in tons of GHG emissions) within the region by 20 percent using programs designed to encourage residential, commercial, and industrial energy conservation.
    Action Item 7 - Reduction and/or Adaptation of Negative Social, Economic, and Environmental Impact of Climate Change
    Goal: Broaden the understanding of forecast effects on climate and plan the adaptation to these changes, where possible. In addition, seek climate adaptation options that do not increase GHG emissions further.
    Action Item 8 - Reduction in the Transportation Sector's Growth in GHG Emissions
    Goal: Slow the growth rate of transportation emissions in the near future, better understand the impact of transportation programs and projects on total emissions, and seek ways to reduce these emissions. Work with Federal officials to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles for sale to the public (emphasis added).
    Action Item 9 - Creation of a Regional Emissions Registry and Exploration of a Trading Mechanism
    Goal: To create a uniform, coordinated basis for emissions banking and trading.

In addition to the action items listed above, the NEG/ECP also passed the following resolutions:

    Resolution 277 (August 2002)
    Encourage and promote climate change proposals focused on LED traffic lights; partnerships with regional colleges and universities for emissions reduction programs; purchase of high-efficiency and low-emission office equipment; and use of clean, energy efficient vehicles in State and provincial fleets.
    Resolution 287 (September 2003)
    Evaluate "smart growth" approaches to land use and development and seek recommendations for implementation. Continue to develop the administration, tracking, and reporting framework for a voluntary regional GHG registry. Work to develop voluntary partnerships with cities, towns, and businesses to increase the efficacy of NEG/ECP's climate change work.

The following section provides information on the specific strategies, programs, and actions developed by the NEG/ECP member states and provinces in response to the nine action items in the Climate Change Action Plan.

Connecticut

On February 15, 2005, the Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change, made up of leaders from key State agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection, Public Utility Commission, Transportation, Administrative Services, the Office of Policy and Management, and The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, led a collaborative effort that developed the Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan 2005. The plan will help Connecticut reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and 10% below that by 2020. The policy recommendations in the Transportation and Land Use section of the plan included the following actions:

  • Adopt California LEV II Standards
  • Establish a GHG feebate program
  • Provide vehicle fleet incentives and support State vehicle initiatives
  • Amend LEV II regulations to include GHG tailpipe standards
  • Design a public education initiative to raise awareness of low GHG emitting vehicles
  • Develop a comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure research and demonstration program
  • Implement a package of transit improvements and land-use policies and incentives to achieve a 3 percent reduction in VMT below the 2020 baseline
  • Embark upon a multi-state freight initiative
  • Reduce black carbon by establishing a Connecticut clean diesel program

More information on the Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan can be found at:
http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2684&q=322070

Maine

A 2003 Maine law (PL 237) required the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop and submit a Climate Action Plan for Maine. The goals of the Plan are to reduce GHG emissions to1990 levels by 2010, 10% below those levels in 2020, and by a sufficient amount to avert the threat of global warming over the longer term, which could be as much as 75%. The Plan was delivered to the Maine legislature in December of 2004. Fifty-four recommended actions/options were identified to meet the target outlined in the Plan - the transportation and land use options included:

  • The adoption of California GHG tailpipe standards for passenger vehicles
  • Development of a Clean Diesel Technologies Program to reduce black carbon
  • Requirement of a State low-GHG fuel standard
  • Implementation of a Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance Program
  • Development of policy packages to slow the growth in VMT
  • Implementation of low-GHG fuel use for State fleets
  • Adoption of CA LEV II Standards
  • Encourage adoption of heavy-duty engine idle-reduction measures for freight movement
  • Development of a GHG feebate program
  • Expand infrastructure for low-GHG fuel options

More information on Maine's Climate Change Action Plan can be found at:
http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/greenhouse/

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan was finalized in 2004. The Plan outlines the following three emission reduction targets:

  • Short-Term - Reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2010.
  • Medium-Term - Reduce GHG emissions 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2020.
  • Long-Term - Reduce GHG emissions sufficiently to eliminate any dangerous threat to the climate; current science suggests this will require reductions as much as 75-85% below current levels.

The plan focuses on a range of strategies to reduce GHG emissions including the following actions in the transportation sector:

  • Use Sustainable Development Principles to integrate transportation and land use
  • Favor transit-oriented development around MBTA stations
  • Include energy use and GHG emissions data as criteria in transportation decisions (emphasis added)
  • Maintain and update public transit services
  • Increase parking at train stations to encourage use of public transit
  • Improve the efficiency of transit vehicle movement
  • Develop new bicycle and pedestrian policies, programs, and facilities
  • Expand programs to promote efficient travel
  • Seek opportunities to reduce emissions at Logan Airport
  • Improve aircraft movement efficiency
  • Evaluate the benefits of expanded rail and water opportunities
  • Provide incentives to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Support HOV lane access for clean vehicles
  • Implement stronger vehicle emissions standards
  • Promote the use of cleaner vehicles and fuels in public transit fleets
  • Clean up the existing transit fleet with less polluting fuels
  • Continue to promote the use of cleaner diesel equipment on state-funded construction projects
  • Eliminate unnecessary idling of buses
  • Use cleaner train engine technology to reduce diesel soot
  • Advocate for aircraft efficiency at a regional and national level

Significant to the transportation planning process is the inclusion of the action to "include energy use and GHG emissions data as criteria in transportation decisions." In April 2007, Massachusetts required a quantification of GHG emissions for projects subject to a Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review and State projects which have an associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

More information on the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan can be found at:
http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/climate/

New Hampshire

On December 7, 2007, the Governor of New Hampshire signed an Executive Order establishing a Climate Change Task Force. The Task Force is charged with carrying out the following tasks:

  • Recommend quantified goals for reductions of NH greenhouse gas given the inventory of NH greenhouse gas emissions and emission projections;
  • Recommend specific regulatory, voluntary and policy actions, based on Stakeholder input, that the State should consider to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals;
  • Hold at least 1 public hearing on the proposed Plan and appropriately consider all stakeholder comments; and,
  • Submit a Climate Change Action Plan and recommendations to the Governor by September 1, 2008.

A press release on the Executive Order can be found at:
http://www.nh.gov/governor/news/2007/120607.html

Rhode Island

In July of 2002, Phase I of the Rhode Island GHG Action Plan was completed. The Plan includes 52 options to reduce GHG emissions in the State. Eleven of these options were targeted towards the transportation sector in the following categories:

  • High Priority Consensus:
    • º Local Fuel Economy Improvements (Feebate) Initiative
    • º Transit Oriented Development and Enhancing Transit Options and Operations Initiative
    • º Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructures Initiative
    • º Commuting Efficiency Program
    • º Commuting Trip Reduction Initiative
    • º Government Owned and Private Fleet-Vehicle Efficiency
  • Lower Priority Consensus:
    • º Fleet Fuel GHG Content Mandate
  • Non-Consensus:
    • º Increase Gasoline Tax
  • Consensus Regional/National Options:
    • º Increase CAFE Standards
  • Consensus Priority Study Options:
    • º VMT-Based Insurance Premium Structures
    • º Transportation Infrastructure Planning
      •  • Commuter rail/light rail and its potential electrification
      •  • Advanced bus rapid transit
      •  • Barging
      •  • Carbon impacts of shifting transportation resources from new lane miles to preserving, enhancing, and better integrating the State's transportation infrastructure

More information on the Rhode Island GHG Action Plan can be found at:
http://righg.raabassociates.org/

Vermont

In December 2005, the Governor of Vermont established a Commission on Climate Change. In October 2007, the Commission approved a set of strategies to address climate change in the State. Thirty-eight strategies were recommended to address climate change in Vermont. The strategies recommended in the transportation sector included:

  • Compact and Transit-Oriented Development Bundle
  • Alternatives to Single-Occupancy Vehicles
  • Vehicle Emissions Reductions Incentives
  • Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance
  • Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure
  • Regional Intermodal Transportation System - Freight and Passenger
  • Commuter Choice/Commute Benefits
  • Plug-In Hybrids
  • Fuel Tax Funding Mechanism

More information on the Vermont's efforts to address climate change can be found at:
http://www.anr.state.vt.us/air/Planning/htm/ClimateChange.htm

Canada/Eastern Canadian Premiers

On September 28, 2006, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released her 2006 Report on Climate Change. The Report described that even though the Federal government had announced billions of dollars in funding since 1992 toward meeting commitments to address GHG emissions, as of 2004, Canada's GHG emissions were 26.6% above 1990 levels. The Commissioner urged Canada's New Government to come up with a credible, realistic, and clear plan that should address the long-neglected need to help Canadians cope with the consequences of climate change and to commit to specific actions with timeframes for completing them. The 2006 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada web site at: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/osh_20061005_e_23460.html

The cornerstone of Canada's new approach is legislation tabled in Parliament on October 19, 2006. Canada's Clean Air Act takes a comprehensive approach to the problem of worsening air quality and GHG emissions. Standards on air pollution and GHG emissions will provide certainty to industry to allow the greatest use of technology to make the investments needed to reduce both. The Act represents a significant shift from a voluntary to a regulatory approach.

Specific to the transportation sector, Canada's Report on Demonstrable Progress Under the Kyoto Protocol Demonstration of Progress to 2005 states that:

    "In the medium term, there is a need for regulatory action on GHG emissions from the transport sector. Emissions from cars and trucks account for about 75 percent of Canada's total transportation GHG emissions, and passenger travel accounts for about half of that. Under Canada's Clean Air Act, the Government will issue regulations in order to limit GHG emissions from cars and trucks as soon as a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding with the auto sector expires in 2010.
    Once a Memorandum of Understanding that has been negotiated with the Railway Association of Canada expires, in 2011, GHG emissions from the rail sector will also be subject to regulation.
    The Government has already announced a number of initiatives that reduce emissions in the transportation sector. Initiatives included significant new investments in public transit infrastructure and a tax credit for public transit users, as well as a commitment to require 5% average renewable content in transportation fuels by 2010."30

Specific measures mentioned include:

  • Encouraging citizens and transportation service providers to use energy efficient vehicles or equipment;
  • Increasing the availability and market acceptance of alternative fuels;
  • Transportation system efficiency improvements; and
  • Reduction in transportation demand.31

Just as local governments and MPOs in the US are taking actions to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector, Provinces and Territories are doing the same in Canada. Numerous Provinces have implemented varied educational campaigns to reduce unnecessary vehicle idling, encourage the purchase of energy-efficient vehicles, construct HOV lanes on provincial highways, and provide incentives for the use of ethanol.

Canada's transportation trends are similar to those in the US - rising passenger-kilometres traveled, growth in freight movement, and increasing energy use in off-road vehicles. In an effort to reduce GHG emissions from the freight sector, the Canadian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US EPA in September 2005 to work jointly with North American freight and shipping industries to take voluntary actions to save fuel and reduce GHG emissions. The agreement brings together Canada's FleetSmart program and EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership program in an effort to cooperate and share information on research and the development of projects to reach stated goals.

CONCLUSIONS

The goal of the process described in this document was the development of a NEG/ECP action plan to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector. Throughout this process, the following key elements were important factors in the progress that NEG/ECP made in their effort to address GHG emissions from the transportation sector.

Role of Political Champions: The six New England Governors and five Eastern Canadian Premiers provided the necessary political leadership and momentum to address climate change issues in the region. The collaborative efforts and the successes of the NEG/ECP to date are due to the political foundation and support of the governors and premiers. Without political champions, the outcomes of well-intended efforts and plans often prove to be unsuccessful due to the lack of political support.

Partners and Stakeholder Involvement: The development of a Transportation and Air Quality Action Plan by the NEG/ECP was a significant multi-jurisdictional and multi-national undertaking, which required a great deal of cooperation and coordination. Several Federal (US and Canada) agencies were identified as valuable partners and were included in the development of the action plan. There was also recognition that other government and non-government entities and private sector stakeholders needed to be involved and consulted with for advice.

Regional/Bi-National Approach: In the absence of national or Federal regulations to reduce GHG emissions in the US, a coordinated and comprehensive regional approach is needed in order to make significant reductions in GHG emissions. In the case of the NEG/ECP effort to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions, there is not only an emphasis on a regional approach, but also on a bi-national one. In both the short-term and the long-term, this approach will help to reduce emissions more efficiently and effectively.

Commitment and Leadership: The commitment to reduce GHG emissions in the region began in 2001 with the development of the NEG/ECP Climate Change Action Plan, which established emission targets. The recognition that a strategy needed to be developed to address climate change in the region was the first step in securing a commitment from US states and Canadian provinces to take action on the issue. With inevitable action on climate change anticipated in the U.S., the NEG/ECP is well-positioned to meet possible future regulations set forth at the Federal level because of its early action, sustainable leadership over the years, and commitments to reducing dependence on energy imports in the region and environmental protection.

27 "Climate Action Plan, 2001." http://www.negc.org/documents/NEG-ECP%20CCAP.PDF

28 "Report to the 32nd Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers,"
September 16, 2008.
http://www.cap-pma.ca/images/pdf/eng/2008%20NEGECP%20Documents/Ctee%20Reports/ 2008%20TAQAP%20Annual%20Report%20E.pdf

29 NEG/ECP. Transportation and Air Quality Action Plan, September 2008. http://www.cap-cpma.ca/images/pdf/eng/2008%20NEGECP%20Documents/Ctee%20Reports/2008%20TAQAP%20Annual%20Report%20E.pdf

30 Canada's Report on Demonstrable Progress under the Kyoto Protocol Demonstration of Progress to 2005, Pages 2-3. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/dpr/can1e.pdf

31 Ibid, pages 2-3.

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