Making the Connection
Chapter 3: The Climate Connection
INTRODUCTION Transportation networks evolve over time as new public concerns and preferences emerge. They both shape and are shaped by social, political, economic and environmental issues. Public health, land use, air and water quality and other environmental conditions have dominated and continue to dominate transportation debates. Beginning in the latter part of the 20th century, global climate change and resource use, particularly energy use, that affects climate change, became one of the most critical environmental issues. It shaped what, where, when and how transportation is used. The triangulation of transportation, energy, and climate is a common basic framework for understanding the problem. Approaches based on that framework are presented here for the US including selected international comparisons. First, the interrelationships among transportation, energy, and climate change underscore the influence of the transportation sector on energy consumption and climate change (for example, Transportation Research Board 2008; Sperling and Cannon 2009; Gilbert and Perl 2008; Kahn Ribeiro et al. 2007; US Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2010; US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2010; Davis et al. 2010, 2011; and Mehrotra et al. 2011). One can envision energy use at the top of the pyramid with climate change and transportation at its base. That is, energy is a major factor in the relationship between transportation and climate change, with greenhouse gas (GHG) as an intermediary. Note that transportation affects climate change in ways other than by its contributions to GHG emissions. For example, the vast network of roadways use surfacing...
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