The transportation sector —which includes all modes of travel through land, air, and sea to move people and goods—now accounts for a third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions*, negatively affecting the health and well-being of millions of Americans, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. Transportation costs are the second largest annual household expense in our country and for the poorest Americans, the financial burden of transportation is disproportionately and unsustainably high. Already in 2020, according to the EPA, transportation generated the largest share of greenhouse gases in the U.S.

In 2018, twelve states (and the District of Columbia) in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic responded, creating the Transportation and Climate Initiative to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. This initiative is still being facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center.

On January 11, 2023,  The Biden-Harris Administration released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. Developed by the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Blueprint is a landmark strategy for cutting all greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector by 2050. There is a very effective graphic on page 5 of the Blueprint clarifying which of the different modes of travel offer the greatest long opportunities, as the administration works to meet the goal of net-zero GHG emissions economy-wide by 2050.

*Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. EPA tracks total U.S. emissions by publishing the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. This annual report estimates the total national greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with human activities across the United States. 


Ford expects EV business unit to lose $3B this year, hit profitability in late 2026

By Kirsten Korosec 03/23/23
Ford lost about $3 billion on its EV and digital services business over the past two years, a unit now known as Model e, and isn’t expected to be profitable (on an adjusted basis that…
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U.S. can shift to EVs without widespread, destructive mining, report finds

By Christopher Bonasia 03/21/23
The new report suggests limiting electric vehicle battery sizes and reducing car dependency to lower the demand for lithium by up to 66%.
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Drone delivery is about to get real

By Joann Muller 03/16/23
Zipline and Wing, two of the world's leading drone delivery companies, are amping up their operations in preparation for wide-scale U.S. deployment starting next year. Why it matters: The companies' new, more sophisticated systems are…
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National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements

This final rule establishes regulations setting minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and projects for the construction of publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargers under…
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U.S. Eyes Trade Deals With Allies to Ease Clash Over Electric Car Subsidies

By Alan Rappeport 02/24/23
The Biden administration hopes to reach limited free trade agreements with countries in Europe and Asia that would not require congressional approval as it looks to ease allies’ concerns about legislation that President Biden signed…
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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Funding for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Corridors, Expansion of EV Charging in Underserved Communities

DOE and DOT Announce $7 Million for New Projects to Accelerate Decarbonization of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Freight Transportation, Release Funding Notice of Intent to Increase Accessibility and Functionality of EV Chargers
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Improved Asthma Symptoms, Air Pollution Linked to Electric Vehicle Use in California

By Pearl Steinzor 02/08/23
Drivers choosing zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), otherwise known as battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell cars, have been increasing in California, with efforts to tackle climate change. However, little is known about the…
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Pete Buttigieg says U.S. can fix the most dangerous thing in transportation

By Michael Laris 02/03/23
It may not be possible to be upbeat about one of the most depressing topics in transportation. But in seeking to marshal the power of the federal government to help localities cut the nation’s tragic…
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This Guide Can Help You Save Money and Fight Climate Change

By Nadja Popovich and Elena Shao 02/01/23
Many American consumers are now eligible to save thousands of dollars when they buy an electric car, heat pump, solar panels or energy-efficient appliances.
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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of Nearly $1.7 Billion to Modernize Fleets and Deploy Clean Transit Buses Across America

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of nearly $1.7 billion to support state and local efforts to modernize aging transit fleets with low- and no-emission buses, renovate and…
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Aviation industry in crosshairs for next biofuel push

By Valerie Yurk 01/23/23
Congress and the Biden administration aim to boost the use of sustainable fuels for the emissions-heavy aviation industry, setting up a new front in the debate over biofuels.
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Youngkin says he blocked Ford battery plant on China concerns

By Gregory S. Schneider 01/13/23
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said this week that he had rejected efforts by Ford Motor Co. to consider locating an electric battery plant in Virginia over concerns that the automaker’s partnership with China created a…
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The U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization: A Joint Strategy to Transform Transportation

In September of 2022, the leaders of the departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enable the four federal agencies to…

Vehicle Electrification Group

The Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Professor Jeremy Michalek and Professor Jay Whitacre in 2009 to study systems-level issues of hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Research areas include:

Vehicle-to-grid (V2g): Everything You Need To Know

V2G stands for “vehicle to grid” and is a technology that enables energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an electric car. With electric vehicle-to-grid technology—also known as car-to-grid—a…

Electric Vehicle Investments Provide Benefits Across the U.S.

This map compiles ZETA research to illustrate EV investments across the country. These private investments are creating tens of thousands of good-paying auto jobs that will reinvigorate communities, generating thousands of additional indirect jobs. And…

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse…

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Transportation?

The statistician and engineer W. Edwards Deming once said “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” Some of the best data come from the Our World in Data team at Oxford University. Their…

Profitably Decarbonizing Heavy Transport and Industrial Heat

To avoid the worst risks of runaway climate change, the world must cut global greenhouse gas emissions— chiefly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels—in half by 2030 and to about zero by 2050. Of that…

A Low Carbon Fuel Standard: In Brief

As part of the congressional deliberations on addressing climate change, Congress may consider policy options for reducing greenhouse gas(GHG)emissions from the transportation sector. One of the leading contributors to the U.S. GHG emission profile in…

Climate Action Pathway

By 2050, passenger and freight transport will be completely decarbonized by shifting to a more sustainable, diverse and resilient range of modes and vehicle technologies. Although individual countries will need to identify their own pathway…

PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS: Biden Administration Advances Expansion & Modernization of the Electric Grid

Departments of Energy and Transportation Announce New Actions to Upgrade America’s Power Infrastructure — Creating Jobs, Increasing Reliability, and Combating Climate Change

Our Transportation Future

The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia. In December 2018, nine TCI states and D.C. committed to design and create a market-based program over…

Building Resilient Transportation

State and regional transportation agencies across the country are facing extreme weather events that damage roads and bridges and cost large sums to repair, not to mention the cost to the economy from disrupted travel.

The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions in America

Transportation is the largest source of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the United States today and the bulk of those emissions come from driving in our cities and suburbs.

Solar carports: how do they work and how much do they cost?

While a typical carport or patio cover provides shading and is undoubtedly a value-add for a home or automobile owner, its one-dimensional simplicity is a missed opportunity. If you’re a PV fanatic following emerging technologies in the solar industry,…

Fuel Economy in Hot Weather

Hot weather can actually increase your fuel economy. Your engine warms up to an efficient temperature faster; summer grades of gasoline can have slightly more energy; and warm air causes less aerodynamic drag than cold…

Fueling a Clean Transportation Future

Smart Fuel Choices for a Warming World.

MacRebur: The Plastic Road Company

MacRebur’s mission is to help solve the waste plastic epidemic and the poor quality of roads we drive on around the world today. Our innovative solution involves processing waste plastics destined for landfill or incineration…

IMO 2020: The Big Shipping Shake-Up

Over 90% of all global trade takes place on our oceans. Unfortunately, the network of 59,000 vessels powering international commerce runs on sulfur-laden bunker fuel, and resulting emissions are causing problems on dry land.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from…

Carbon Pollution from Transportation

Burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is…

Climate Collaborative – Transportation Resources

This page highlights case studies, videos, tools, and other resources from our partners. Adopting efficiencies in shipping cargo, logistics optimization, and intermodal transport can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the global movement of goods…

A brief introduction to climate change and transportation

How to reconcile people's love affair with their vehicles and society's need to reduce carbon emissions?

The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT)

The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) promotes the integration of sustainable transport in global policies on sustainable development and climate change and leveraging action in support of the implementation of the global policies.…


United Airlines aims to suck carbon dioxide from the friendly skies

By Steven Mufson   01/12/21  
United Airlines is investing in a venture that doesn’t make airplanes, transport passengers or ring up frequent-flier miles on the company’s credit cards. And even as it posts losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, United is providing…
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How the Department of Defense could help win the war on climate change

Eric Wolff   01/04/21  
The Pentagon has a huge appetite for clean energy — and a massive budget.
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Survey: Voters support bold actions on transportation, climate issues

By DJ Simmons   12/25/20  
A majority of eastern U.S. voters support the multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative as a way to jump-start the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recently released scientific survey of…
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The District, three states sign agreement to curb transportation emissions

By Luz Lazo   12/22/20  
The group, which could be joined by other states, set a goal of reducing vehicle pollution by 26 percent in the next decade.
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EU urged to address aviation’s full climate impact, including non-CO2 emissions

By Chloé Farand   11/26/20  
The aviation sector’s climate impact is three times bigger than the effect of its carbon dioxide emissions alone, according to a study by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (Easa), the EU’s aviation regulator, commissioned by the…
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Scaling sustainable aviation fuel today for clean skies tomorrow

The time to act is now. As travel and tourism ramp up, aviation will again produce about 3 percent of total carbon emissions, plus other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Hybrid-electric and hydrogen-powered…
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Electrifying Homes And Cars Could Save The Climate — And $2,500 Per U.S. Household

By Alexander C. Kaufman   10/22/20  
New research shows that the U.S. can rapidly decarbonize with existing technology and no real lifestyle changes.
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Governor bans post-2035 sales of new gas-fueled cars

By Anne C. Mulkern   09/23/20  
California will ban sales of new gas-fueled cars after 2035 under an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom today.
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Environmental and infrastructure policies to support communities in transition

When a fossil fuel plant or mine shuts down, jobs and economic prosperity are lost — but often, the pollution stays. Communities across the U.S. reliant on fossil fuels — and those located near them…
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Guest commentary: Our future Aspen airport is a worthy vision

By John Bennett, Meg Haynes and Jackie Francis   09/15/20  
For many Vision Committee members, the main objectives of our plan were cleaning up our airport and keeping it safe, not worrying about the CRJ. Today’s airport is a major source of carbon and other…
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Text: Joe Biden on Climate Change, ‘a Global Crisis That Requires American Leadership’

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that's cost tens of millions of American jobs and counting.
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A Reform Agenda for the U.S. Department of Transportation

By Kevin DeGood   09/09/20  
Unfortunately, federal infrastructure policy and programs have not modernized to meet the five major challenges facing the U.S. transportation system: major injuries and fatalities, climate change
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Centering Planning in the Federal Surface Transportation Debate

By Jason Jordan   09/03/20  
This month, the nation’s surface transportation law — which funds the implementation of so much of planners’ work — will expire.
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Drivers Tell Automakers to Side with Clean Air, Not Trump

By Luke Tonachel   09/01/20  
In an outpouring of frustration, disappointment, and anger, more than 285,000 drivers sent messages to Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota, and other automakers demanding that they drop their support of the Trump administration’s dangerous rollback of…
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Move Over, Sustainable Travel. Regenerative Travel Has Arrived.

By Elaine Glusac   08/27/20  
Can a post-vaccine return to travel be smarter and greener than it was before March 2020? Some in the tourism industry are betting on it.
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Defying Trump, California locks in vehicle emission deals with major automakers

By David Shepardson   08/18/20  
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and major automakers on Monday confirmed they had finalized binding agreements to cut vehicle emissions in the state, defying the Trump administration’s push for weaker curbs on tailpipe pollution.
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States Pushing Back On Trump’s Environmental Policy Changes With Updates To Trucking

By Emily Folk   08/13/20  
The Trump administration has reversed 68 environmental regulations over the past three years. There are more than 30 supplementary rollbacks that have yet to be finalized.
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A plunge in mass transit ridership deals a huge blow to climate change mitigation

By Kristoffer Tigue   07/19/20  
Transit agencies ask Congress for relief as commuters return to their cars and fare revenues tank. Meanwhile, driving direction requests—and carbon emissions—soar.
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House Climate Change Plan Tackles Heavy-Duty Equipment at Ports

By Eugene Mulero   07/01/20  
Congress should increase funding for programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to reduce emissions from heavy-duty equipment at ports, according to a recent plan from House Democrats.
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Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards

By Rebecca Beitsch   03/31/20  
The Trump administration on Tuesday rolled back an Obama-era law that pushes automakers to produce more fuel efficient vehicles, severely limiting a rule designed to decrease pollution from transportation in the face of climate change.
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Trump Administration Finalizes Fuel Economy Standards Rollback, A Key Policy Goal

By Nathan Rott   03/31/20  
The Trump administration's deregulatory agenda continues. Today the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rollback of Obama-era fuel economy standards. This substantially weakens one of the country's biggest efforts to fight climate change. NPR's Nathan Rott…
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How plastic can be recycled to build roads

Engineer Toby McCartney has found a way to mix recycled plastic in with asphalt to make new roads.
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Company Is Using Plastic Bottles To Make Roads That Last 10x Longer Than Asphalt

The creation of plastic in 1907 marks an important point in mankind and the history of Earth. It is the year in which we created one of the most durable, but also environmentally harmful materials…
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Transportation & Climate Initiative sees ‘overwhelming support’ of cap-and-invest plan

By Katie Pyzyk   03/02/20  
From mid-December through February, members of the public were asked to submit comments of support or opposition regarding a draft policy from the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI). More than 8,300 comments were submitted in…
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Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions

By Coral Davenport   02/07/20  
The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four automakers that had sided with California in its dispute with the Trump administration over reducing climate-warming vehicle pollution, deciding that the companies had violated no…
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Trump promised his mileage standards would make cars cheaper and safer. New documents raise doubts about that.

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis   01/23/20  
President Trump has said his plan to weaken federal mileage standards would make cars cheaper and “substantially safer.” But the administration’s own analysis suggests that it would cost consumers more than it would save them…
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Climate coverage is improving, but challenges abound heading into 2020

By Evlondo Cooper   01/01/20  
Marked by innovative initiatives and high-quality reporting, 2019 was a breakout year for climate journalism. But there is still work to be done. Broadcast and cable TV news are still greatly underreporting catastrophic extreme weather, failing to cover the…
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5 things Trump got wrong about the rollback

By Maxine Joselow   12/10/19  
President Trump made some unusual claims about clean car standards last week. Many of them were false, experts say.
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Shipping Group Leaps Into Europe’s Top 10 Polluters List

BY Bethan Staton   12/09/19  
Until this year, the EU's top polluters were mostly coal-fired power plants. But shipping is among the few industries not covered by the Paris climate agreement.
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Here are the cities that are leading in electrifying transportation

By John Addison   11/21/19  
Over 5 million electric vehicles (EV) were on the road at the end of 2018, in the form of electric cars, trucks and buses. In 2018, 2 million of those EVs were added, reported the…
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General Motors Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry

By Hiroko Tabuchi   10/28/19  
Breaking with some of their biggest rivals, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards…
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Los Angeles is testing ‘plastic asphalt’ that makes it possible to recycle roads

By Adele Peters   10/24/19  
By mixing recycled plastic bottles with chewed up asphalt, the new process repaves a road without adding any new asphalt—and makes it from a material that lasts longer.
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The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions in America

By Nadja Popovich and Denise Lu   10/10/19  
Transportation is the largest source of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the United States today and the bulk of those emissions come from driving in our cities and suburbs.
Read more

Environmental organizations support striking United Autoworkers, urge General Motors to agree to a fair contract

A coalition of environmental organizations today sent a letter to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, expressing solidarity with the nearly 50,000 autoworkers striking against the corporation. The coalition urged Ms. Barra to agree to…
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Impervious to a carbon price? The myth of transportation and carbon fees

Impervious to a carbon price? The myth of transportation and carbon fees By Jonathan Marshall More than 3,500 U.S. economists, including 27 Nobel laureates, insist that carbon taxes offer “the most cost-effective lever to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions at…
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Major Cruise Line to Abandon Plastic Water Bottles

By Elaine Glusac   09/25/19  
Norwegian Cruise Line, the world’s third-biggest cruise company, aims to switch its fleet to paper-based water cartons by 2020.
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Trump officials threaten to withhold highway funding from California for its ‘chronic air quality problems’

By Dino Grandoni   09/24/19  
Trump administration officials threatened this week to withhold federal highway funding from California, arguing that the state has not shown what steps it is taking to improve its air quality. The move by the Environmental…
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Amazon boss Jeff Bezos makes carbon neutral pledge on eve of worker protests

His pledge came ahead of mass climate change protests which hundreds of the Amazon's staff will take part in.
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One Thing We Can Do: Drive Less

By Tik Root and John Schwartz   08/28/19  
Also this week, Greta Thunberg arrives in New York.
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Climate change: Should you fly, drive or take the train?

The climate campaigner Greta Thunberg chose to sail to a UN climate conference in New York in a zero-emissions yacht rather than fly - to highlight the impact of aviation on the environment. The 16-year-old…
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Hydrogen Plane Startup Offers Zero-Emissions Solution for Airport Woes

By Tina Casey   08/20/19  
The clean energy revolution means more than simply replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon alternatives. Clean technology can also provide extra benefits for companies in terms of productivity, comfort and convenience.
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Trump and California still on collision course over car rules

By Dino Grandioni   08/06/19  
The Trump administration and California are continuing on their collision course over how fuel efficient the next generation of cars and light trucks needs to be.
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