January 10th, 2023 the Biden Administration released the US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization.
The Blueprint is an interagency developed framework of strategies and actions to take carbon emissions out of the Transportation sector by 2050, developed by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Transportation (DOT), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s the conclusion essentially of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between those departments that they would develop the outline to drive policy decisions and regulatory updates focused on the goal of decarbonization in the sector through 2050 in a cooperative manner between federal agencies.
Another way to think about it is the blueprint is basically what the plan is for implementing actions for the investments created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) from November 2022, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) from August 2022. These bills established billions in funding for infrastructure and outlined aggressive action on climate change (respectively). The blueprint developed is part of the process for allocating where investment and change happens to push the country toward the enormous mitigations in emissions that the BIL and IRA legislation attempted to make possible.
As we’ve discussed previously, the Transportation sector is the nations largest source of greenhouse gas, and accounts for a third of all domestic GHG emissions, so emissions mitigation/elimination across this sector is obviously a goal in the context of Climate Change. The blueprint additionally sought to develop action plans for the sector with environmental justice in mind – the concentration of emissions and negative impacts from the transportation sector have historically been concentrated in low income, urban, and minority areas of the country and that is an additional factor that needs to be addressed.
The strategies in the blueprint are aimed at ensuring the US hits both the President’s stated commitments on emissions reduction, and the US Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. In order to hit both 2030 targets and 2050 goals, there is a mix of short- and long-term recommendations.
The report specifically seeks to
- “Increase convenience by Implementing System Level and Design Solutions”
- “Improve Efficiency through mode shift and More Efficient Vehicles”
- “Transition to Clean Options by Deploying Zero-Emission Vehicles and Fuels”
The method for doing so is split into strategies, goals, and action plans by transportation subset (or mode). They are:
- Light-Duty Vehicles (49% of current emissions)
- Medium- and Heavy-Duty On-Road Trucks and Buses (21% of current emissions)
- Off-Road Vehicles and Mobile Equipment (10% of current emissions)
- Rail (2% of current emissions)
- Maritime Vessels (3% of current emissions)
- Aviation (11% of current emissions)
- Pipelines (4% of current emissions)
We will go through each mode individually, and highlight what we think the important takeaways are for each in terms of what things may impact energy suppliers either directly or via end users (customers) over the upcoming weeks.
Definitely a topic to keep an eye on, because if the U.S. intends to hit the lofty goals on emissions reduction it set itself, there will likely need to be some big big changes out there in the market.