Transportation and Climate
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- Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation
- Transportation Solutions
Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Over the past 200 years, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil have caused the concentration of heat-trapping 'greenhouse gases' to increase significantly in our atmosphere. These gases prevent heat from escaping to space, somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse.
The levels of these gases are increasing at a faster rate than at any time in hundreds of thousands of years. If human activities continue to release greenhouse gases at or above the current rate, we will continue to increase average temperatures around the globe. Increases in global temperatures will most likely change our planet's climate in ways that will have significant long term effects on people and the environment.
For more information on climate change, visit EPA's Climate Change Home page.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation
Transportation sources emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In 2010, transportation contributed approximately 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation is also the largest end-use source of greenhouse gases (including direct emissions and emissions from electricity use), and accounts for 45 percent of the net increase in total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-2010.
Fast Facts: U.S. Transportation Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions provide a summary overview of emissions from the transportation sector, as reported in the annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks:
- 2010 Report (PDF) (5 pp, 1.0MB, EPA-420-F-12-063, December 2012)
- 2009 Report (PDF) (5 pp, 1.0MB, EPA-420-F-12-012, December 2012)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the U.S. Transportation Sector: 1990-2003 includes information on greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, including how emissions are measured:
- Full report (PDF) (68 pp, 1.2MB, EPA420-R-06-003, March 2006)
While transportation continues to contribute a large percentage of U.S. emissions, there are exciting opportunities for the sector to deliver greenhouse gas reductions. Low-carbon fuels, new and improved vehicle technologies, strategies to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, and operating vehicles more efficiently are all approaches to reducing greenhouse gases from transportation. In combination, these strategies can reduce transportation-related emissions significantly.