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Trucking falling short of GHG targets


OTTAWA, Ont. – Evolving trucks are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the Conference Board of Canada believes the industry will still fall short of a 2030 target to reduce emissions 30% below 2005 levels.

The findings were included a new report released today during the inaugural meeting of the Conference Board’s Centre on the Low-Carbon Growth Economy.

Heavy-duty vehicles emitted 21 megatonnes of carbon dioxide in 1990, 49 Mt in 2005, and 63 Mt in 2015, it concludes. Even if the industry aggressively adopts emerging technologies, the greenhouse gas emissions are expected only to fall to 42 Mt by 2030 (20% below 2005), and 27 Mt in 2050 (49% below 2005).

While equipment is evolving, the emissions from road freight have been growing in line with an expanding population and economy. Road transportation accounts for more than ¼ of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. And the share appears to be growing.

“Canada needs to accelerate its efforts to improve technologies, adopt them more rapidly, and embrace innovative technologies aggressively in the trucking industry in order to make headway towards achieving its GHG reduction targets,” said senior fellow Glen Hodgson.

“However, technology alone cannot get us there. Changes to the way we use freight services will also be required.”

Disruptive technologies that are expected to help include long combination vehicles, platooning, traffic optimization applications, natural gas engines, and electrification.

Noting that fleets don’t tend to trucks fuel-savings claims by manufacturers, the Conference Board says there’s an opportunity for the government to support the independent verification of fuel savings, to help increase confidence.

The report was funded by Natural Resources Canada.


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