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Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

About Transportation and Climate Change

2012 DOT Climate Adaptation Plan
The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is inviting the public to comment on its first Departmental Climate Adaptation Plan. The Adaptation Plan was prepared under Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, and Council on Environmental Quality Implementing instructions, and lays out concrete steps the Department will take to fully integrate considerations of climate change and variability in DOT policies, programs and operations. Potential climate impacts can influence DOT's strategic goals of safety, state of good repair and environmental sustainability, and are therefore of particular interest to the Department. The DOT Climate Adaptation Plan reflects DOT's commitments for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 and other DOT accomplishments. The public can access this document electronically through (

Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: The Gulf Coast Study
To better understand potential climate change impacts on transportation infrastructure and identify adaptation strategies, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is conducting a comprehensive, multi-phase study of climate change impacts in the Central Gulf Coast region. This region is home to a complex multimodal network of transportation infrastructure and several large population centers, and it plays a critical national economic role in the import and export of oil and gas, agricultural products, and other goods. The study is sponsored by the U.S. DOT's Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is managed by FHWA.

For more climate adaptation information from the Federal Highway Administration, please use the following links:

Flooded Bus Barns and Buckled Rails: Public Transportation and Climate Change Adaptation
This report examines projected climate impacts on U.S. transit, climate change adaptation efforts by domestic and foreign transit agencies, transit adaptation strategies, risk management tools, and incorporation of adaptation into transit agency organizational structures and processes.

For more climate adaptation information from the Federal Transit Administration, please use the following link:

RGGI States to Develop Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Eleven states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions will join forces to develop a low carbon fuel standard to reduce vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions. The 11 states include Pennsylvania plus the 10 members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a coalition creating a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program for the power generation sector. The low carbon fuel standard will require a reduction in the average lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of useful energy, and may include advanced biofuels and electricity.

America's Climate Choices
National Academy of Sciences
In response to a request from Congress, the National Academies have launched
America's Climate Choices, a suite of activities that will provide policy-relevant advice,
based on scientific evidence, to guide the nation's response to climate change. Experts
representing various levels of government, the private sector, nongovernmental
organizations, and research and academic institutions have been selected to serve
on four panels and an overarching committee. This site provides information about each
of the panel's efforts to advance climate change research.

California Air Resources Board Approves Climate Change Scoping Plan
On December 11, CARB approved a plan which outlines strategies to reduce the State's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Climate Change Proposed Scoping Plan: A framework for change, includes several measures related to transportation. For details on the plan, see:

National Action Plan Vision for 2025: A Framework for Change
On November 18 the U.S. EPA, U.S. DOE, and more than 50 energy, environmental and state policy leaders released an Action Plan that includes strategies to reduce energy demand by more than 50 percent and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 90 million vehicles. Initiated in 2005, the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency is directed by a leadership group of 30 electric and gas utilities, 20 state agencies, and 12 other organizations. The Action Plan and other documents are available at:

California Governor Directs State Agencies to Plan for Sea Level Rise and Climate Impacts
On November 14, California Gov. Schwarzenegger signed an executive order which, among other things, requires an assessment and report on the vulnerability of transportation systems to sea level rise and calls for Caltrans to coordinate an infrastructure adaptation strategy. Executive Order S-13-08 is available at:

Chicago's Plans to Go Green
In September, Chicago unveiled an action plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to one quarter below 1990 levels by 2020, followed by reductions through 2050 that would slash emissions by 80 percent. Up to 400,000 homes and 9,200 skyscrapers and factories would require energy-efficient retrofits in the next 12 years. All 21 coal-burning power plants throughout Illinois would need to be refurbished, too, requiring statewide cooperation. Another 450,000 riders would have to wedge themselves into elevated trains and buses every day—a 30 percent increase—rather than commute by car. "I don't know of another municipal plan that is this ambitious or comprehensive," says Rebecca Stanfield, a senior energy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The full Scientific American article is available at:

NHTSA Issues Final EIS for New CAFE Standards
On October 10, 2008, the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. NHTSA recently proposed standards for model year 2011-2015 passenger cars and light trucks. The FEIS compares the environmental impacts of the agency's Preferred Alternative and reasonable alternatives, including a “No Action” alternative. Among other potential impacts, NHTSA analyzed the direct and indirect impacts related to fuel and energy use, emissions (including carbon dioxide and its effects on temperature and climate change), air quality, natural resources, and the human environment. The FEIS can be found at

Climate Change Policy and CO2 Emissions from Passenger Vehicles
A recent study released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office notes that policies that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions—such as “cap and trade” or CO2 taxes—would have a relatively muted effect on passenger vehicle emissions; most CO2 reductions would take place in other sectors such as power generation. Increases in motor fuel prices under such policy would likely be substantially lower than those of recent years, and have less effect on emissions than increases in CAFE standards scheduled over the next decade. For more:

TRB's Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy was established to develop a strategic plan and roadmap for TRB's energy and climate change program and activities, and to coordinate transportation and climate change-related activities across TRB standing committees. The task force's charge is to develop the plan and roadmap within a context that addresses critical climate change and energy issues that affect all modes of transportation, and can be addressed through means of policy, technology, and rethinking of our current transportation infrastructure. In addition, the task force is coordinating the development of sessions that will make up the spotlight theme "Transportation, Energy and Climate Change" for the 2009 TRB Annual Meeting. To see a roster of Special Task Force members, see