Goal set: Cut greenhouse gas emissions 20%

Sept. 22, 2010
In the past six years, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has generated plenty of plans, and some great successes, in helping solve world problems. Several companies used this year’s 6th annual meeting in New York City yesterday to try and solve some of transportation’s issues

In the past six years, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has generated plenty of plans, and some great successes, in helping solve world problems. Several companies used this year’s 6th annual meeting in New York City yesterday to try and solve some of transportation’s issues.

Donlen, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), GreenDriver, and the Electric Drive Transportation Assn. (EDTA), all proposed plans to improve the environmental impact of transportation in the U.S. As part of CGI, businesses and non-profits offer a “Commitment to Action” designed to promote global corporate citizenship development of business practices that encourage sustainability, foster education, improve health, and stimulate global economies.

Donlen, EDF, and GreenDriver combined to propose a “Commitment to Action” to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in commercial fleets in the U.S. The commitment, titled “Commercial Fleet 20% GHG Emissions Reduction,” is a pledge by all three organizations to work together to transform the environmental impact of the fleet industry.

“The transportation industry is responsible for 28% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” said Gary Rappeport, Donlen CEO. “As a leader in the fleet management industry, it’s important that Donlen takes the initiative to help reduce commercial fleet GHG on a broader scale. The Clinton Global Initiative offers us the venue to address this critically important issue, and we’re proud to collaborate with EDF to be part of the larger work of CGI.”

Donlen is a fleet leasing and management company. To help meet its end of the commitment, the company will work with customers to benchmark baseline fleet emissions and follow through with emissions reduction plans to increase fuel efficiency, reduce miles traveled, to use low-carbon fuels, and deploy technologically advanced vehicles.

EDF will support Donlen by validating the data collection process, reduction strategies and methodology. Donlen will use GreenDriver online training and behavior management programs to help fleets train and manage their drivers.

“Many opportunities exist today for companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle fleets while cutting costs,” said Jason Mathers, project manager, Environmental Defense Fund. “Time and again, we have seen that a smart, performance-based structure is critical to achieving success. This commitment through the Clinton Global Initiative is a shining example of such a structure. We applaud Donlen and GreenDriver for taking a central role in coordinating this commitment and are proud to work with them on this effort.”

EDTA, a trade association representing battery, plug-in, hybrid and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure, announced its action plan to push the use plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV) throughout North America.

“This initiative aims to speed the transition to electric drive and help us achieve the full environmental, economic and national security benefits of electrifying the transportation sector,” said EDTA president Brian Wynne. “Transportation accounts for one-third of the greenhouse gases produced in the U.S. Even with our existing electric grid, plug-in electric vehicles on average reduce emissions by one-third, with greater reductions achieved when vehicles are recharged from hydro-electric, nuclear or renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.”

EDTA’s Plug-in Electric Vehicle Acceleration Initiative will offer educational and outreach programs to support the growth of plug-in vehicles. The organization detailed its plan to accomplish this task. Among the goals are to create a new consumer-oriented website with input from more than 60 companies and organizations that will serve as a clearinghouse for information on purchasing, owning, and operation plug-in vehicles.

The organization also wants to create inter-industry and inter-governmental collaborations to establish best practices, uniform standards, and incentives to accelerate market acceptance of PHEVs; to develop education materials; and expand participation by non-profits and grassroots organizations in the EDTA annual conference, the EVS-2012 international conference and other consumer education auto shows.

With General Motors introducing the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan the Leaf, plug-in electric vehicles are just beginning to hit the market. In all, auto manufacturers have plans to introduce 15 different models of plug-in vehicles by 2012. There are also plans to install 20,000 vehicle charging stations in the U.S. using funding from the U.S. Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

EDTA said it will recruit foundations, companies and other organizations to support this initiative.

The Clinton Global Initiative was established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton. It brings together global leaders to devise and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. To support the initiative, CGI created CGI University, which serves as a forum to engage college students in global citizenship; MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a commitment to action; and CGI Lead, which brings together young leaders from business, government, and civil society.

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