Municipal Support Tool for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Vehicles (Poster, text only)

Abstract :In order for the US to effectively mitigate Greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions, governments at all levels must initiate reduction plans. This support tool is intended to assist municipal governments with their energy and resources (ERG) decisions. The support tool is focused on the replacement of vehicles in their city fleets, for more fuel efficient vehicles. The option for vehicles includes hybrids, electric, and traditional. The tool calculates the CO¬2 reduction and the financial benefit. Only carbon emissions are put in consideration. The financial benefit accounts for discounting. The results of this model will eventually be incorporated in an online system.
Background
Greenhouse effect
o Caused by GHG. The following are the most abundant: Water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone. GHG reside in the atmosphere.
o GHG absorb and emit thermal infrared radiation. Part of the re-emitted radiation returns to earth. This is the Greenhouse effect.
o Greenhouse effect raises the earth’s surface temperature.
o In 2010, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) accounted for 84% of GHG emissions from human activity
State of Emergency
o In the past century, there has been 1.4 Fahrenheit increase in average global temperatures, for the next century, there is an estimated 2 to 11.5 Fahrenheit increase in average global temperatures
o Sounds scary, yet between 2009 and 2010 US carbon emissions increased by 3.2%, a total of 12% since 1990.
o A total of 6,821.8 million metric tons (1 mt= 2200 pounds) of carbon dioxide emissions in 2010. About 22% of the world’s total emissions, despite only containing about 5% of the world’s population (heaviest whale ever recorded weighed 190 metric tons)
Taking it back to the personal level
o Average American household (average income and number of residents) emits 48.5 tons CO2/year (California average is slightly better at 43.9 tons CO2/year)
o In 2010, US forestry could offset 15% of total US GHG emissions. A clear indicator that individual action is necessary.
Methods
To build the support tool, our team used Microsoft Excel. The bulk of the process was developing the tool and searching for appropriate data. Source legitimacy was indispensible. We wanted the support tool to be as flexible as possible, so we computed default values in the event that a city does not know their appropriate user inputs. After all data is inputted, the support tool computes the results.
Simulated Results
Currently Unhappy with current simulated results, will update soon with more satisfactory examples.
Discussion
Key Conclusion
o Replacing portions of the city fleet with more fuel efficient vehicles decreases expenditures and carbon emissions.
o Given a constant city fleet mileage and utilizing fleet size as only variable, relationship between fleet size and % GHG reduced resembles a negative exponential.
o Very effective to replace vehicles that have a high mileage (ex. Transportation and police vehicles).

Limitations and their Implications
o Fleet replacement is limited by money available and purpose of vehicles. For example, there is a limited number of police cars that can be Prii, still need some Police
cruisers that meet certain
MPH/acceleration/Toughness requirements.
o Support tool can be utilized to support fleet replacement and to prevent it. If the financial benefit is too trivial, changing the fleets can be counterproductive. Important for city governments to weigh their options.
o Ultimately, there is indirect and direct benefit from using the support tool. If replacement of vehicles isn’t as lucrative as hoped, the support tool can point city officials to concentrate on other areas of carbon emission.

Next steps
Development
o Further data refinement. More appropriate data must be gathered, covering all types of variables such as average incomes, area, geography, climate, population density, etc
o Occasional updating to increase ease and versatility. A wider range of outputs the support tool computes increases the support tool’s versatile.
o Expand to other facets of carbon emission inside a municipal government’s jurisdiction. For example, buildings, streetlights, etc.
o Expand internationally.
o Remembering the purpose, to facilitate municipal governments ERG policies, which ultimately mitigates GHG emissions. (update to save time)
Usage
o Implement online. Requires Computer programmers.
o Spread awareness of availability of tool.
o Prevent climate damage.
References
o "CoolClimate Network." CoolClimate Network. Web. 09 Aug. 2012. .
o "IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Web. 09 Aug. 2012. .
o "US Environmental Protection Agency." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, Web. 09 Aug. 2012. .

Closing note:
This is most of the written text for the poster I presented for the Cal Nerds 2012 Summer Symposium. I will soon update it with images and formatting as well as some edits (including a new results segment).