Here’s How Scientists Want Biden to Take on Climate Change

Constantine Samaras, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

The next transportation system has to be different, and it can be. This isn’t just about scaling up public transit, which we’ll need to electrify and scale up by about a factor of five or more. This isn’t just about encouraging the rapid construction of accessible communities, safe streets for bicyclists and pedestrians, and widespread deployment of green infrastructure, all of which are needed at large scales. This isn’t just about replacing a legacy fleet of gasoline vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs), although there are about 250 million cars and trucks in the U.S. that can stay on the road for 15 to 20 years or more. It’s all of these, at scale, at the same time. An “EVs for clunkers” program is necessary but not sufficient. We need an “equitable clean mobility for clunkers” program that enables a rapid and just transition to a clean-energy economy. It’s doable, and more importantly, it’s necessary.