AIR QUALITY Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were created by the Clean Air Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s air quality in 2050. The scenarios differed in the strategies used to respond to Utah’s growing population and their impacts on future air quality. The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future survey in spring 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Seagull, Quaking Aspen, and Sego Lily (the state fossil, fish, bird, tree, and flower):

ALLOSAURUS AND BONNEVILLE TROUT SCENARIO

air allosaurus bonnevilletrout

We take little personal or collective action to achieve cleaner air.

New 2014 state and federal regulations initially reduce car and other emissions, improving air quality. By 2050, however, these improvements are largely offset by the near doubling of homes, businesses, and cars. Driving per person does not decrease, although 90% of Utah’s cars are low-emission because of the phase-in of 2014 federal requirements. Included within the 90% cleaner cars are 5% of Utah’s cars that are electric or zero-emission, having been voluntarily purchased by Utahns. Some refineries avoid producing cleaner fuels.

Pollution is not reduced from old or new homes and businesses; the energy efficiency of buildings is not improved through higher building standards.

Summary of Actions Taken

Vehicles

  • We drive the same amount per person as today.
  • 90% of vehicles have fewer emissions; 5% have zero emissions.
  • 60% of fuel is clean (i.e., low sulfur).

Homes and Businesses

  • New buildings are not more energy efficient.
  • Older buildings are seldom renovated to be more efficient.
  • No water heaters are ultra-low emission.
  • Wood burning per person remains the same.

Industries

  • Emissions are reduced through 2014 state regulations.
  • Only some refineries produce cleaner fuel.

Results

  • Emissions reduce by 20%.
  • We do not meet health standards in 2050.
  • Homes and businesses replace vehicles as the primary producers of pollution.
  • Average household saves $100 per year.
  • Some businesses , employees, and tourists hesitate to come to Utah.

SEAGULL SCENARIO

air seagull

We take some limited personal or collective action to achieve cleaner air.

In addition to implementing the new 2014 state and federal regulations that reduce car and other emissions, Utahns take sufficient additional actions to just meet health standards.

Driving per person decreases 10%, and 95% of Utah’s cars are low-emission because Utahns buy cleaner cars over time. Included within the 95% cleaner cars are 10% of Utah’s cars that are electric or zero-emission, having been voluntarily purchased by Utahns. All of our refineries produce cleaner fuel to put in our cars.

25% of older homes and businesses are renovated to be 30% more energy efficient. New building standards require all new homes and businesses to be 25% more energy efficient than those built today. Even so, the emissions from homes and business grow significantly by 2050 due to the near doubling of the number of buildings.

Summary of Actions Taken

Vehicles

  • We drive 10% less than today per person.
  • 95% of vehicles have fewer emissions; 10% of vehicles have zero emissions.
  • All fuel is clean (i.e., low sulfur).

Homes and Businesses

  • New buildings are 25% more energy efficient.
  • 25% of older buildings are renovated to be 30% more efficient.
  • Half of all water heaters are ultra-low emission.
  • Wood burning per person decreases by 50%.

Industries

  • Emissions are reduced through 2014 state regulations.
  • All refineries produce cleaner fuel.

Results

  • Emissions reduce by 30%.
  • We just meet health standards in 2050.
  • Homes and businesses replace vehicles as the primary producers of pollution.
  • Average household saves $360 per year.
  • Fewer businesses, employees, and tourists hesitate to come to Utah.

QUAKING ASPEN AND SEGO LILY SCENARIO

air quaking sego

We take significant personal and collective action to achieve cleaner air.

In addition to implementing the new 2014 state and federal regulations that reduce car and other emissions, Utahns take additional actions that put us well within health standards.

Driving per person decreases 25%, and 98% of Utah’s cars are low-emission because even more Utahns buy cleaner cars over time. Included within the 98% cleaner cars are 35% of Utah’s cars that are electric or zero-emission, having been voluntarily purchased by Utahns. All of our refineries produce cleaner fuels.

All older homes and businesses are renovated to be 30% more energy efficient. New building standards require all new homes and businesses to be 50% more energy efficient than those built today. By 2050, the number of homes and businesses has nearly doubled and are by far the largest source of pollution, but retrofits and new building standards have significantly tempered the increase in emissions that would have otherwise occurred.

Summary of Actions Taken

Vehicles

  • We drive 25% less per person than today.
  • 98% of vehicles have fewer emissions; 35% of vehicles have zero emissions.
  • All fuel is clean (i.e., low sulfer).

Homes and Businesses

  • New buildings are 50% more energy efficient.
  • All older builders are renovated to be 30% more efficient.
  • All water heaters are ultra-low emission.
  • Wood burning per person decreases by 75%.

Industries

  • Emissions are reduced through 2014 state regulations.
  • All refineries produce cleaner fuel.

Results

  • Emissions reduce by 40%.
  • We are well within health standards in 2050.
  • Homes and businesses replace vehicles as the primary producers of pollution.
  • Average household saves $1,375 per year.
  • Businesses, employees, and tourists do not hesitate to come to Utah.

Scenario Summary

air scenarios summary