IPCC: Working Group III goes after transportation pollution

The series of IPCC reports are, without a doubt, some of the most highly anticipated reports of 2007. An obvious sign? Within two weeks of one report’s release, papers are already covering a leak from the next.

The IPCC Working Group III’s focus is on mitigation, meaning a fair number of policy implications can be derived from its conclusions. So, here’s a hint for America’s auto industry: the UN report is calling for urgent action on road pollution.

In the United States, there are 483 passenger cars per 1000 people (EarthTrends). The world average is about 100, and few countries outnumber our car count (Australia, for example, had 492 in 1996).

Overall, U.S. auto emissions account for seven percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions, a huge part of Massachusett’s case against the EPA in the Supreme Court, and knowing such a significant source of the problem informs where policies are most productive. In a few words, renewable fuels such as E85, plug-in hybrids, and more stringent CAFE standards.


World energy use by transportation is expected to grow by two percent each year, but as California has demonstrated with its electricity consumption, it is possible to flatline the curve. Not to mention, both climate security and national security interests call for it.