The effects of transportation on the earth’s climate, and in-turn those effects on transportation are concerns for all individuals, agencies, and governments. This presentation will review some major effects transportation has on climate, how the climate changes affect transportation infrastructure and planning, and steps agencies and individuals can take. Transportation is the number one contributor to climate change in the U.S. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 28 percent of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) are from cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, and railroads, among other sources. However, globally transportation accounts for just 14 percent of GHG. Adapting transportation for a healthier planet takes efforts at every level of government, across all sectors of the economy, and from legislative bodies to every citizen. As the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg stated on how transportation plays a role in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan “All infrastructure decisions are climate decisions.” This talk will bring together the most recent developments in 2021 concerning the Paris Agreement of 2015, the U.S. Transportation Act, the American Jobs Plan, the Wildlife Corridors bill, the 30 by 30 Plan, and other legislative actions that could help change the way transportation is executed in the U.S. There will be millions of dollars available to build bridges and other infrastructure, initiatives to protect millions of acres of natural lands, potential funding to build wildlife mitigation in transportation systems, electric vehicle infrastructure upgrades, and other new opportunities to change the way our transportation system affects the natural world we rely on. This is in conjunction with important initiatives on the science and management side of the solution. For example, in 2021, the U.S. National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy published the “Advancing the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy into a New Decade.” This national strategy identifies the seven types of climate change on species and ecosystems (increased temperatures, melting snow and ice, rising sea levels, changes in ocean circulation patterns, changing precipitation patterns, drought, and extreme weather) and steps agencies and states are taking to help create climate change adaptation, including a strategy goal to focus on the need and opportunities to better integrate people into climate adaptation efforts for other species and ecosystems. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration guide for adapting transportation systems to climate change will be referenced as well. A major goal is to make human and ecological systems more resilient to change. Listeners to this talk will be able to use this information to make informed decisions in agency actions and personal every day decisions that affect how we contribute to climate change.
Climate change: adaptation, mitigation, resilience