Project 2: Climate Change Policy Project
Over the last two decades, the potential for global climate change has become an issue of increasing importance for many policymakers. Because emissions of greenhouse gases in the transportation sector represent a significant and growing share of total emissions, a large number of policies have recently been proposed for addressing this issue including: emissions standards, carbon taxes, vehicle technology mandates, feebates, fuel economy standards, marketable emission licenses and fuel composition standards. Many would argue that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, along with the appropriate hydrogen production pathways, represent the most promising long-term option for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions from transportation compatible with the stabilization of CO2-equivalent atmospheric concentrations. An important research topic relates to the role, if any, that climate change policy will play in fostering the development of advanced vehicle and fuel technologies such as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Key questions include:
- Will performance standards or market-based policies such as carbon taxes or permit systems provide incentives to develop a hydrogen-based transportation system or are these measures likely to favor other technological pathways? If climate change policy does play a role, on what timescale are these effects likely to occur?
- Is climate change policy likely to have an impact on the types of hydrogen production pathways that are pursued, for example by emphasizing renewable options over fossil fuel based pathways? What are the implications for infrastructure development?
In order to answer these questions, this project will focus on the analysis of various potential instruments of climate change policy and the potential impact that each may have on a hydrogen transition. In the first phase, the project will assess the relative likelihood of climate change policy alternatives in terms of the beliefs, preferences and political considerations of key stakeholders. In the second phase, the project will evaluate likely policy alternatives from an economic perspective including: efficiency and cost-effectiveness; and the social welfare implications of transportation climate change policy. Finally, based on the characteristics of likely policy instruments and potential implementation pathways, the project will assess the impact on the timing and magnitude of a transition to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Publications from this project:
Hughes, Jonathan E., Christopher R. Knittel, Daniel Sperling (2006) Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-06-16
Hughes, Jonathan E., Marketable Emission Permits and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges for Greenhouse Gas Reduction, World Resource Review, 17, 196-219, 2005.
Presentations from this project:
Hughes, Jonathan, "Marketable Emission Permits and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges for Greenhouse Gas Reduction," 16th Global Warming International Conference (GWIC), New York, NY, April 19 - 21, 2005.
Hughes, Jonathan, "California Leadership in Sustainable Transportation," International Forum on Urban Mobility and Advanced Transportation, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, September 16, 2004.
Hughes, Jonathan, "Hydrogen Pathways: Future prospects for hydrogen vehicles, fueling stations and hydrogen production facilities," Ninth Fire Risk and Hazard Research Application Symposium, Annapolis, MD, June 24, 2004.
Hughes, Jonathan, "Fuel Cell Vehicles and the Hydrogen Highway," Government Technology
Conference, GTC-West, Sacramento, CA, May 13, 2004.