A new report by the Conference Board of Canada titled A Long, Hard Road: Reducing GHG Emissions in Canada’s Road Transportation Sector by 2050 attempts to provide an evidence-based view of how road transportation might practically contribute towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels, as recommended by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The study notes that nearly half of the country’s rise in emission between 1990 and 2013 were from the road sector (which includes air, road, off-road, rail and marine), with road making up the largest share accounting for 67% of the transportation sector’s emissions, and 19% of Canada’s total emissions.
The study does note, however, that that the trucking industry is pulling its weight, especially as it comes to the voluntary adoption of GHG reducing technologies. In this, the study makes explicit reference to the industry’s adoption of side-skirts, boat-tails, low-rolling resistance tires and wide-single tires (amongst other technologies). However, the study does note that not all carriers are making full use of these kinds of fuel saving/ GHG reducing technologies citing a number of reasons, including regulatory inconsistencies from province to province.
The study also does note that emission for light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks between 1990 and 2012 have steadily decline by 1.3%, 1.4% and .5% respectively, which is over a period of time where Canada’s GDP was growing at a compound annual rate of 2.4%. However, the study does conclude that even with this continuous improvement, these gains will begin to flatten by 2025.
Overall, the study supports the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s view that in order to meet upcoming emission standards – including the EPA’s Phase 2 regulations for heavy trucks and engines – a number of issues need to be addressed by government, such as regulatory inconsistencies amongst jurisdictions, the need for government to be more responsive to industry, and the lack of incentives for fleets to introduce environmentally friendly, emissions cutting technologies.