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22.12.2013
Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. At the end of each year, in addition to our annual round ups of interactive maps, visualizations and print infographics, we usually pull together unique selections around topics that deserve a special attention. Climate-related catastrophes and man-made environmental disasters were an unfortunate constant presence in the news, during 2015. With these 50+ interactive visualizations and maps, published by online news portals, non-profit organizations, public institutions, companies and individuals, you can explore in depth some of those issues, and hopefully take action, either by adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, or by demanding from your political representatives a consistent effort towards solving environmental issues affecting your community, your region, your country, and ultimately, our world. But before we move on to that, just in case you missed it, bellow you’ll find the posts published with the 2015 highlights, and here is a similar post we published referring to 2014. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown markedly since pre-industrial times, with a 70% increase from 1970 to 2004 alone.
Without additional measures to mitigate climate change, global green house gas emissions will continue to grow over the coming decades and beyond.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. Forests in Europe provide us essential services: clean air, clean water, natural carbon storage, timber, food and other products.
We use cookies to record some preference settings and to analyse how visitors use our web site. The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.
People who believe that climate change is increasing the risk of devastating wildfires in Colorado are no more likely to take mitigation actions to protect their property, a new study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the U.S.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Hazards, examined the role that climate change beliefs play in a homeowner's choice to undertake risk mitigation activities such as installing a fire-resistant roof to reduce the ignitability of their home or thinning surrounding vegetation that could act as a potential fuel source.
Respondents in the study were placed on a continuum from 'believer' to 'skeptic' based on their attitudes about the degree to which climate change affects wildfire risk in Colorado. The researchers did, however, find a correlation between climate change denial and risk mitigation actions. The findings suggest that attitudes and actions related to climate change and risk mitigation are more nuanced than they are often portrayed in the media, and that focusing on locally relevant hazards may be a more useful tool for educating and galvanizing residents in fire-prone areas of Colorado.
Policy options for climate change risk management are straightforward and have well understood strengths and weaknesses, according to a new study by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program.
Strategies for building support for climate change mitigation policies should go beyond attempts to improve the public's understanding of science according to new research. Two major UN conferences on climate change and sustainable development must tackle the key issue of deforestation, the World Forestry Congress urged Friday. New international research has found a way to help the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change promote their message for more urgent action around the world. Five islands have disappeared in the Pacific's Solomon Islands due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion, according to an Australian study that could provide valuable insights for future research. The saltiness, or salinity, of seawater depends largely on how much moisture is pulled into the air as evaporative winds sweep over the ocean. Researchers from MIT, Princeton University, and elsewhere have developed a new technique to monitor the seasonal changes in Greenland's ice sheet, using seismic vibrations generated by crashing ocean waves. Humidity can make us feel miserablea€”think of sultry summer days in Chicago, for examplea€”but humans do not have dedicated sensory systems in the skin to detect water vapor in the air. Nowhere today is the biodiversity of corals and reef-inhabiting fish higher than in the tropical waters around Indonesia and its neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. A new NASA analysis of 30-years of satellite data suggests that a previously observed trend of high altitude clouds in the mid-latitudes shifting toward the poles is caused primarily by the expansion of the tropics. As a famous blogger like to say, I'll start acting like I'm concerned about climate change when the warmists start acting like they're concerned. There are two primary approaches that can be used to integrate GHG performance measures in the plan development process: analyzing GHG performance along with other performance measures during LRTP development, or conducting a focused analysis of GHG reduction strategies that supports the LRTP. As part of LRTP development and analysis, MPOs will frequently develop alternative investment packages and then conduct modeling analysis to compare the performance of different alternatives across several metrics.
Another approach that a State DOT or MPO could apply is to conduct a focused analysis of transportation GHG reduction strategies to understand key factors affecting GHG emissions and effective strategies, in order to feed into decisionmaking for the LRTP.
FHWA has developed the Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool to assist States and regions in estimating the impact of transportation strategies.
FHWA has developed a Handbook for Estimating Transportation Greenhouse Gases for Integration into the Planning Process. A focused analysis of GHG reduction strategies may be particularly helpful to State DOTs, since their LRTPs often set out a key policy direction and strategies, but traditionally have not involved identifying and modeling specific project investments. An example of a State DOT led climate strategy analysis is work conducted by Maryland Department of Transportation in developing its Climate Action Plan. Maryland is a State with significant climate change vulnerabilities, particularly sea level rise, given its many tidal coastlines.
The analysis addressed a wide range of strategies, including transit investments, eco-driving, and operations strategies. An important element of this approach, however, is that it should not be just a stand-alone analysis. GHGs from light-duty vehicles can be further reduced beyond what will be achieved through technological developments and regulatory programs, primarily through reductions in VMT influenced by strategies and programs that support travel alternatives.
By creating more transportation options and influencing travel behavior, these strategies also support other objectives in most regions including improving mobility and travel choices, reducing emissions, developing livable communities, improving access for bicyclists, and improving pedestrian safety. There are a number of actions that State DOTs and MPOs and local communities can take to reduce GHG from transportation system operations. Heavy-duty truck GHG emissions are growing faster than other sources of transportation GHGs, and constitute a significant portion of total on-road emissions. The introduction of more fuel efficient vehicles and alternative fuels can reduce GHG emissions. The use of low carbon fuels is another important strategy that can be promoted at the State or regional level to reduce GHG emissions. As noted earlier in the section on developing a baseline, GHG emissions forecasts are typically developed using a combination of travel demand forecasting models and emissions models. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) developed its Long Range Regional Plan using five different scenario alternatives.
At the State level, a challenge is that many LRTPs are largely policy-documents or corridor-based, and even if investments are identified, forecasting models may not be available to analyze investments.
Recognizing the limitations of most travel models to address strategies such as demand management and incentives, Oregon DOT developed the GreenSTEP Model to test various scenarios for reducing transportation sector GHG emissions.


The impacts of these policies may overlap each other and in many cases the benefits of individual strategies may not be additive when used together.
In 2007, the State of Oregon adopted a goal to reduce all GHG emissions to 75% below 1990 levels by 2035. A challenging part of PBPP is to consider how an agency will weigh tradeoffs among different goals areas.
One of the advantages of many GHG reduction strategies is that they tend to support other regional and State goals that are typically included in LRTPs. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) tested seven policy scenario options as part of the GHG target setting required by State law. SACOG staff have made a concerted effort to ensure that various considerations are being measured from a consistent base so that each scenario is evaluated using the same data.
High scores are awarded to those projects that aim to reduce the largest amount of emissions as a percentage of the regional total. Another approach is to designate specific funding for transportation climate change initiatives and prioritize funding based on estimated GHG reduction potential or cost-effectiveness. Integrating greenhouse gases into planning and programming in Massachusetts - In 2008 Massachusetts passed the Global Warming Solutions Act that requires the State to set a goal for reduction and create transportation plans that are consistent with that goal. MassDOT and the MPOs have developed approaches for identifying the anticipated GHG emission impacts of different project types. Since the transportation planning process is continuous, transportation plans and TIPs are updated periodically and State DOTs and MPOs routinely adjust program priorities based upon changing circumstances and resource constraints. And among all those subjects of discussion, climate change, water management, deforestation and other environmental issues are always on the top of our mind. The Paris Climate Deal that came out of COP 21 commits countries to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, but when we look at all the stories that marked what will probably be the hottest year ever recorded, one can’t help to feel that world leaders came short once again. Most of this increase would come from developing countries, where per capita emissions are still considerably lower than those in developed countries.
The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment. Although over half of the study respondents agreed that climate change has increased wildfire risk in the state, those respondents were not necessarily more likely to take action on their private property to mitigate potential damage from future blazes.
Identifying Strategies, Analyzing Alternatives, and Developing Investment Priorities In a PBPP process, performance measures and targets are used to inform decisions on investments and policies. Freight strategies might include truck climbing lanes, truck-stop electrification or other projects. DOT has developed a Transportation Climate Change Clearinghouse that provides information on GHG mitigation strategies and how to evaluate them, as well as links to a wide range of studies and other resources. This resource provides summary information on techniques, methods and models that can be used by planners to estimate GHG emissions impacts of different transportation strategies. Although not required by law, this approach could be similar to the approach used in the development of a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The GHG analysis and strategy assessment should directly inform and support investment decisions in the LRTP. It is important that States and MPOs identify the key drivers of GHG emissions in their areas and then analyze potential GHG reduction strategies to assess potential effectiveness in their specific State or regional circumstances. While these strategies reduce GHG emissions, it is important to recognize that some of them, such as eliminating bottlenecks and improving traffic flow, may facilitate additional vehicular travel that may offset GHG reductions in the long term. DOT to establish a primary freight network of up to 300,000 miles, and requires the development of a National Freight Strategic Plan. While vehicle fuel efficiency standards have been primarily implemented at the Federal level to date, California has the legal authority to adopt more stringent vehicle technology standards to reduce air emissions. States and localities have been involved in promoting a range of alternative fuels, including natural gas (CNG, LNG), propane, biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel) and electricity. Climate change was a factor considered in developing scenarios, but there were also many other components. Still, State DOTs could conduct analyses of alternative policies and strategies, much like the analyses that have been conducted by States as part of Climate Action Plans.
This tool is the basis for the Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool (EERPAT) tool, which is being promoted by FHWA as a statewide GHG policy analysis tool for providing rapid analysis of many scenarios that combine effects of various policy and transportation system changes. The EERPAT model accounts for this, and incorporates various secondary effects of policies. For example, how will GHG reductions be weighted in comparison to criteria pollutant emissions reductions? For example, transit investments support mobility, access to jobs, increasing travel choices, reducing emissions and reducing VMT and GHGs. The work was done to inform SACOG and others of the GHG reduction potential of various scenario options, each of which was focused on expanding a policy bundle. The decision makers do not use a scoring system, but they do look at all of the possible outcomes and assess what strategies do and do not work well together. Although project-level emissions analysis is not typically conducted in relation to performance measures, States and MPOs can use quantitative or qualitative information to assess how different projects or more likely, groups of projects, contribute to different goals. The Puget Sound Regional Council in Washington State has discussed the concept of creating approaches, such as monetizing benefits, which allow projects to be prioritized using criteria that are relatively comparable and also allow for cost-benefit analyses. The MTC in the San Francisco Bay Area has developed a Climate Initiatives Program, which specifically was designed to fund programs that reduce GHG emissions, and have other co-benefits.
The goal has been set at a 25 percent reduction by 2020 in GHG emissions from a 1990 baseline. All TIP projects have been sorted into two main categories for analysis: projects with quantified impacts and projects with assumed impacts. As the new performance requirements included in MAP-21 are implemented, State DOTs and MPOs are expected to begin setting clear performance targets and using those targets to inform investment decisions in the required areas. The evaluation found that in the seven states, heavy-duty vehicles accounted for 7%, 8%, 9%, 10%, 10%, 11%, and 18% of total VMT in Michigan, California, Nevada, Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Idaho, respectively. And keep watching this space, for in the next couple of days we’ll continue to bring you more 20015 data visualization goodness. Policies put in place in some countries have been effective in reducing emissions in those countries to a certain degree, but not sufficiently to counteract the global growth in emissions. To do so, an agency needs to identify and analyze strategies to assess their anticipated benefits relative to established targets.
This analysis will inform policy makers of what future GHG emissions are expected to be under different investment scenarios, and allow decision-makers to make informed choices while considering the range of performance outcomes of importance to the region. Some of the types of transportation-related GHG reduction strategies that may be advanced by States and MPOs are briefly described below.


With this new focus on freight planning, there may be additional opportunities to address freight-related GHG emissions. States and regions can promote the installation of alternative fuel filling stations or electric vehicle charging stations.
Scenario planning is fairly common at the MPO level, as MPOs use their travel demand models to assess alternative packages of investments. Through the public participation process, climate change became such an important priority that GHG reduction strategies were included in the final scenario plan, and GHGs were used in the prioritization criteria.
For instance, the model accounts for the rebound effect when fuel economy improvements are implemented. The other MPOs are not required to conduct scenario planning but may do so on a voluntary basis. Or more broadly, how important is GHG reduction in comparison to safety or economic development?
The scenarios included land use enhancements, transit enhancement, system and demand management enhancement and pricing. SACOG highlights the co-benefits of its strategies as a way to convince decision makers how to get the best return on transportation investments.
Monetizing benefits would also be useful because State officials have limited funding for transportation, and monetizing benefits could provide a mechanism to raise the priority of GHG reduction projects relative to other traditional transportation improvements that can be monetized. Similarly, the shorter-range regional and State Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs and STIP), under which particular projects are chosen for funding in the coming four years, must be consistent with the Commonwealth's GHG reduction target. Projects with quantified impacts consist of capacity-adding projects from the LRTP and projects from the TIP that underwent a CMAQ spreadsheet analysis.
If an MPO or State DOT chooses to adopt GHG reduction targets as part of their PBPP and as a means to support the environmental sustainability goal under MAP-21, then GHG reductions can be considered as an additional return on potential project investments.
The evaluation also found that heavy-duty vehicle travel accounted for 20%, 21%, 28%, 22%, 26%, 28%, and 37% of total on-road CO2 emissions in Michigan, California, Nevada, Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Idaho, respectively. By bringing together a wide range of stakeholders that play a role in safety - transportation agencies, law enforcement, emergency medical services, etc.
States can influence the adoption of new vehicle by purchasing these vehicles for their own fleets.
A number of agencies have prepared electric vehicle readiness studies to plan for electric vehicle use. In general, scenario planning is more useful when sub-area performance measures are also reported because the more flexible the model, the easier it is to use as a tool for answering particular questions that arise during the public involvement process. The most recent long range plan, Transportation 2040, has a four part strategy that includes Land Use, Transportation Pricing, Transportation Choices, and Technology. EERPAT is sensitive to a variety of different policies, including carbon taxes, policies that incentivize the introduction of low carbon vehicle technology, public policies that incentivize fleet turnover, policies to increase transit capacity and ridership, policies to promote intercity rail and bus transport, policies that improve walkability and transit access, urban growth boundaries and household and business transportation demand management programs. By re-calculating household budgets to include fuel economy savings due to new vehicle technologies, EERPAT incorporates potential increases in demand for VMT caused by lower travel costs.
Targets were set based on an assessment of what is possible to be accomplished at the metropolitan level.
These investments may improve traffic flow, reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions, encourage rail freight, and reduce energy consumption and GHGs. SACOG addresses trade-offs by creating scenarios that revolve around specific priorities so that decision makers and the public can develop their own opinion of the best scenarios. This will require that the MPOs and MassDOT balance highway system expansion projects with other projects that support smart growth development and promote public transit, walking and bicycling.
Projects with assumed impacts include projects that would be expected to produce a minor decrease or increase in emissions and projects that would be assumed to have no CO2 impact.
Tax breaks or subsidies for new vehicle technologies may also be adopted at the State or regional level.
Alternative fuel mandates in some States have been used to require the mixture of biofuels, such as biodiesel, into the fuel supply.
The results of the investments and strategies contained in Transportation 2040 are illustrated in the figure below. These targets call for a 17-20% reduction in transportation-related GHGs in each metropolitan area by 2035 in order for the State to meets its 2050 goal.
This balancing of goals and priorities is achieved through qualitative and quantitative analysis and most importantly through the decisions made by policy makers about relative priorities within a region. Many of the other types of investments that State DOTs and MPOs traditionally make also can support reducing GHGs. The final plan includes just one scenario that is a combination of the best elements from 3 or 4 other near-final scenarios.
In addition, the project programming mix included in the RTPs, TIPs and STIP can contribute to GHG reduction through prioritizing roadway projects that enable improved system operational efficiency, without expanding overall roadway system capacity.
If implemented effectively, a transportation-focused Climate Action Plan or sustainability planning effort could function in a similar way. The combination of the four-part strategy results in a range of emissions reductions (between 5 percent likely technology scenario and 28 percent aggressive technology scenario) below 2006 modeled emissions. State law (HB 2001) requires Metro and the Portland metropolitan area local governments to develop and select a preferred land use and transportation scenario that achieves the GHG emissions reduction targets.
There are also co-benefits in that many strategies reduce multiple pollutants of concern (e.g.
Currently the TIPs provide a numerical ranking for projects on several different factors, including their contribution to GHG emissions. For instance, California law allows single-occupant use of high occupancy vehicle (HOVs) lanes by certain qualifying clean alternative fuel vehicles. California has adopted a low carbon fuel standard that provides a fuel-neutral mechanism to promote lower carbon fuel use.
As compared to the 2040 Baseline trend, the preferred alternative results in emissions reductions between 31 percent and 48 percent. Portland Metro's Climate Smart Communities scenario planning process includes six desired regional outcomes which serve as guiding principles for the Climate Smart Communities Project. Metro's scenario planning process identified evaluation criteria that could assess scenario performance on all of the region's six desired outcomes.
Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project: Strategies Toolbox discusses the scenario planning process in detail and the various strategies researched.



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