Transportation

Transportation: Better Access, Cleaner Engines, Greener Fuels

If we could clean up the transportation sector's pollution, we would be a long way toward solving California's air pollution challenges.
 
The transportation sector produces more than a third of the greenhouse gas pollution in California that contributes to climate disruption. It contributes about two-thirds of the conventional criteria pollutants that cause ground-level pollution around the state. In some regions, like the Los Angeles air basin, transportation is responsible for an even higher proportion of the local air pollution load.
 
There are generally three linked solutions to address the transportation sector's pollution problem: create more efficient engines, use cleaner fuels, and design the infrastructure in a way that gives more efficient options for moving people and products from place to place. Sierra Club California advocates for policies that advance these three solutions in California.
 
In recent years, our staff and volunteers have:
 
• Helped push adoption of new tailpipe pollution standards for automobiles and light trucks sold in California--standards that helped propel federal agencies to adopt new, higher fuel economy standards for all cars and trucks sold in the U.S.
 
• Helped push adoption of, and then defend against oil company attacks, a low-carbon fuel standard that will dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution generated by transportation fuels.
 
• Pushed local transportation planners to create regional transportation plans that abide by SB 375 goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector through smarter planning. And when one local agency, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), tried to game the system and created a plan that showed increases in greenhouse gas emissions in the future, we challenged that plan in court and won.
 
• Launched work in coalition with environmental and environmental justice advocates around the state to develop a comprehensive plan for freight system cleanup at the local and statewide level. Moving freight by ship, train and truck accounts for a huge proportion of the health-threatening soot pollution spewed by the transportation sector, and accounts for about  eight percent of the greenhouse gas emissions released worldwide.
 
• Advocated for more stable funding for local transit systems and safer bicycle routes that would make it easier for people to use alternatives to automobiles to get to work, school and services.
 
If you would like more information about how you can help advance cleaner transportation through Sierra Club California, click here.