The California High Speed Rail Authority

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Greenhouse Gas Reduction The California High Speed Rail Authority Claims about the systems environmental benefits are greatly overstated. As per Due Diligence Report, California HSR will cause very little reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2). The California Air Resources Board forecasts that the HSR would reduce CO2 emissions equal to only 1.5% of the current state objective. On the other hand the California High Speed Rail Authority has made an exaggerated claim of achieving “almost 50%” of the state objective. McKinsey report indicated that the CO2 emission reductions in the United States can be achieved for about $50 per ton. On comparison, the cost per ton of CO2 emission removal by HSR is very high ranging between 39 and 201 times the IPCC ceiling of $50. So it can be understood that the impact of High Speed Rail on CO2 would be inconsequential and exorbitantly costly. Hence, the CO2 emission reduction due to high speed rail cannot be legitimately included as an element of a rational strategy for reducing GHG emissions. Considering the untenable traffic impact projections, California High Speed Rail Authority’s claims are considered specious. To attain more liability to the claims of the authority, an independent assessment of HSR’s CO2 impacts should be made, including both operations and construction. The critics state that the California High Speed Rail Authority should stop making any statements about CO2 or other air quality impacts until such an
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