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Transportation Energy Market Transitions: an Environmental Perspective. John M. DeCicco Senior Fellow ▪ Automotive Strategies Environmental Defense Fund MIT / Ford / Shell Research Workshop Dearborn, Mich igan ▪ June 9, 2009. Clarity on Goals. Distinguish MEANS from ENDS

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Transportation energy market transitions an environmental perspective

Transportation Energy Market Transitions:an Environmental Perspective

John M. DeCiccoSenior Fellow ▪ Automotive StrategiesEnvironmental Defense Fund

MIT / Ford / Shell Research WorkshopDearborn, Michigan ▪ June 9, 2009

Clarity on goals
Clarity on Goals

  • Distinguish MEANS from ENDS

  • AFVs (non-fossil, non-carbon) are means to

    • energy security

    • climate protection

    • economic benefits

  • Is AFV transition really "vital" -- should it be the premise of analysis?

Environmental goals
Environmental Goals

  • Climate protection is now top priority

    • Work from global carbon budget to avoid high risk of disruptive global warming

    • "Deep reductions" by mid-century (e.g., 80%)

    • Continue progress on established metrics (air/water quality, ecosystem protection)

  • Carbon budget implies cap framework; trading allows flexibility

    • problem: poor policy design match for transportation markets

    • or, a need to develop new mechanisms

Fuel price volatility vs carbon price
Fuel Price Volatility vs. Carbon Price

With carbon price of $22/ton CO2

Average price 1970-2008:$2.03 ±0.51 (2007$/gal)

Energy policy lessons
Energy Policy Lessons

  • Based on balance of competing interests

  • No well-defined objective function (how do you measure "security" or "independence"?)

  • Has generally provided economic efficiency, "normally" low private costs, but …

  • RD&D, incentives & mandates policies for alternative transportation energy sources have not seen success to date (Brazil?)

Trends in design related impacts of u s automobiles
Trends in Design-Related Impacts of U.S. Automobiles

Relative nationwide total (not per-mile) values


Oil & CO2


Air Pollution

Source: Derived from DOT, DOE, and EPA statistics. Each index is based on national totals, i.e., total tons of carbon or pollution and total fatalities. The air pollution index represents a health damage-weighted composite of light duty vehicle criteria-related emissions.

The control system matters
The "control system" matters










Control models for existing policies
Control models for existing policies

  • Road safety: open loop; performance goals are only weakly stated and not enforceable.*

  • Air quality: closed loop; Clean Air Act requires legally enforceable attainment of health-based standards.

  • Energy: open loop at best; well-defined performance objectives are not specified in law.

Traditional energy policy approaches seem unlikely to suffice for the goal of climate protection, and it's fair to question just how well they will ever work for energy security and economic goals.

*Here, enforceable pertains to the social goal, not the technical regulations.

Clarity on framework
Clarity on Framework

  • Is the current framing of the problem, based on technical factors characterizing the system, adequate for generating the insights needed?

  • "Alternative" (e.g., non-petroleum, or non-fossil, "carbon free" energy carrier, etc.) is example of "technological determinism"

    • Means to end, but if pathways and scenarios are all defined in terms of "alternatives," are we missing opportunities?

Traditional factors for analyzing transportation ghg emissions
Traditional Factors for AnalyzingTransportation GHG Emissions

GHG Emissions

Travel Activity

Fuel GHG Intensity

Vehicle Efficiency

Shifting the focus
Shifting the Focus

  • from Factors

    • which no single actor can fully influence

  • to Actors

    • all of whom make decisions that influence GHG emissions in some way

Can we create "feedback loops" that guide all actors according to well-defined metrics tied to end goals (as opposed to trying to guide changes in factors toward presumed means to the end)?

Actors who influence automotive ghg emissions
Actors Who Influence Automotive GHG Emissions

Established Market Relationships

Fuel Suppliers






Land Use and Infrastructure

Planners and Providers

What are the future relationships that might transform auto related markets
What are the future relationships that might transform auto-related markets?


Fuel Suppliers








Land Use and Infrastructure

Planners and Providers

Toward synergy scenarios
Toward "Synergy" Scenarios auto-related markets?

  • New markets will require new relationships that add value along multiple dimensions

    • What carbon (GHG) metrics make sense, and can the carbon market be helpful?

    • Energy security: role for "50-250" strategies? (robust over $50—$250 per bbl price variation)

    • Where will new bases for customer value be found (hint: not likely in energy per se)

  • Can the modeling explore these questions?