Quantifying Lifecycle Emissions, Cost, and Environmental Equity Implications to Prioritize Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies

California policy has required California local governments to set greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and outline strategies they will implement to meet them. This dissertation aims to serve as a tool for informing the prioritization of proposed strategies in the transportation sector, as well as common energy sector strategies. They are analyzed using lifecycle assessment (LCA) to determine their lifecycle cost effectiveness and emissions reduction potential. Results are then presented in a marginal abatement cost curve to facilitate a side-by-side comparison of the strategies. While GHGs are global pollutants, strategies to reduce them often have implications for local pollutants that directly affect the communities in which they occur.

This research will develop a novel application of LCA and life cycle cost effectiveness that considers the changes in local pollutants across the various lifecycle phases of GHG reduction strategies. These results are further examined to determine environmental equity implications. Finally, a survey is conducted of stakeholders across the state to explore: the factors that define their sustainability plans, their current approach to strategy prioritization, and the opportunity for them to include the methodology that is developed in previous sections of the dissertation.