Kat Janowicz

21-Jun-2018, 3:00-3:30PM

Beyond Tailpipe Emissions

Kat Janowicz


Recently we have been observing an increasing urge to transition to a clean-energy economy. While the concept is noble, the execution and associated common beliefs may spark confusion and controversy. I cannot stress enough how important the continuation of emission reduction efforts is to our communities and businesses. Many of the accomplishments thus far are remarkable. However, we should be focused on goals, while remaining open to any and all forms of technology and fuels necessary to achieve those goals. Technological advancements are accelerating faster than our ability to accommodate them. There is a lot of confusion about technology availability and readiness, particularly for heavy industry and infrastructure improvements. Until we have a full understanding of associated technology advancement and its implications, it is difficult to make informed decisions. Furthermore, we should not disregard the lifecycle approach. A focus on tailpipe emissions alone may result not only in a slower than desired pace of emission reduction but also an unsatisfactory shift of emissions from the particular area of concern to other regions. Driving all electric cars does not make a community zero-emission. The cars need to be manufactured, delivered, and then disposed of when we no longer need them. All that requires energy and creates emissions. We cannot afford to remain blind to other stages of a product’s life and the complexity of this process. Currently the total US renewable generation is only about 15%. That means we must burn all other fuels we have available to satisfy the demand for electric power. This will include natural gas, coal, and petroleum. In addition, with growing energy needs, future power demand may surpass the supply in some areas. We should consider a holistic approach to energy strategies and set realistic expectations with a vision to move forward. Therefore, it is crucial for local governments, policymakers and industry to work together and to understand this future impact on our regions. We all need clean air, fresh water, and jobs to live. To be successful we need to understand the importance of a balanced approach and feasible transformation.








Track: 1- Policy, Trends & Local Initiatives | Session: 1C- Energy Innovations and Sustainability in Transportation, Infrastructure & Buildings

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