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Global Climate Change Cumulative Effects Discussion

The Federal government is addressing the issue of global climate change as an important national and global concern in several ways . The transportation sector is the second largest source of total greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the United States. and the greatest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – the predominant GHG. In 2004, the transportation sector was responsible for 31 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions. The principal anthropogenic (human-made) source of carbon emissions is the combustion of fossil fuels, which account for about 80 percent of anthropogenic emissions of carbon worldwide. Almost all (98 percent) of transportation-sector emissions result from the consumption of petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and aviation fuel.

Recognizing this concern, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is working nationally with other modal administrations through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting to develop strategies to reduce transportation's contribution to greenhouse gases, particularly CO2 emissions, and to assess the risks to transportation systems and services from climate changes.

At the State level, there are also several programs under way in Colorado to address transportation GHGs. The Governor’s Climate Action Plan, adopted in November 2007, includes measures to adopt vehicle CO2 emissions standards and to reduce vehicle travel through transit, flex time, telecommuting, ridesharing, and broadband communications. The Colorado Department (CDOT) is working with several agencies to prepare a memorandum of agreement (MOA) titled “Memorandum of Agreement for Interagency Collaboration to Address Mobile Source Air Toxics and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Affecting the State of Colorado.”

The purpose of this MOA is to establish a collaborative, working relationship among the State of Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FHWA, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD), the Denver Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), and CDOT to address unregulated mobile source air toxics (MSAT) and greenhouse gases (GHG) produced from Colorado’s state highways, interstates, and construction activities. CDOT’s commitments would include:
1. Develop truck routes and restrictions with the goal of limiting truck traffic in proximity to facilities, including schools, with sensitive receptor populations.
2. Continue researching pavement durability with the goal of reducing the frequency of resurfacing and reconstruction projects.
3. Develop air quality educational materials, specific to transportation issues, for citizens, elected officials, and schools.
4. Offer outreach to communities to integrate land use and transportation decisions to reduce growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), such as smart growth techniques, buffer zones, transit-oriented development, walkable communities, and access management plans.
5. Commit to research additional concrete additives that would reduce the demand for cement.
6. Expand Transportation Demand Management (TDM) efforts statewide to better utilize the existing transportation mobility network.
7. Continue to diversify the CDOT fleet by retrofitting diesel vehicles, specifying the types of vehicles and equipment contractors may use, purchasing low-emission vehicles, such as hybrids, and purchasing cleaner burning fuels through bidding incentives where feasible. Providing incentives is the likely vehicle for this.
8. Explore congestion and right-lane-only restrictions for motor carriers.
9. Fund truck parking electrification, mostly via exploring external grant opportunities
10. Research additional ways to improve freight movement and efficiency statewide.
11. Commit to incorporating ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) for non-road equipment statewide before June 2010 – likely using incentives during bidding.
12. Develop a low-VOC emitting tree landscaping specification.

Because climate change is a global issue, and the emissions changes due to project alternatives are very small compared to global totals, the GHG emissions associated with the alternatives were not calculated. Because GHGs are directly related to energy use, the changes in GHG emissions would be similar to the changes in energy consumption presented in section ________ of this [EA/EIS]. The relationship of current and projected Colorado highway emissions to total global CO2 emissions is presented in the table below. Colorado highway emissions are expected to increase by 4.7 percent between 2008 and 2035. The benefits of the fuel economy and renewable fuels programs in the 2007 Energy Bill are offset by growth in VMT; the draft 2035 statewide transportation plan predicts that Colorado VMT will double between 2000 and 2035. This table also illustrates the size of the project corridor relative to total Colorado travel activity.

Global CO2 emissions, 2005, million metric tons (MMT)1
Colorado highway CO2 emissions, 2005, MMT2
Projected Colorado 2035 highway CO2 emissions, MMT2
Colorado highway emissions, % of global total (2005) 2
Project corridor VMT, % of statewide VMT (2005)
27,700
29.9
31.3
0.108%
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1) EIA, International Energy Outlook 2007
2) Calculated by FHWA Resource Center

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