In a recent legislative session on climate change, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray reinforced how the trucking industry has taken a leadership role in reducing its carbon footprint and helping to shape the policy on a cap-and-trade program in Ontario.
“It was about a year ago…that we announced that we had decided on cap-and-trade as the carbon pricing mechanism for Ontario. That was done after very detailed conversations with industry leaders, and it enjoys the support of everyone from the president of Intact Insurance in the financial sector to the Ontario Trucking Association,” he said.
The transportation sector has been identified as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 36 per cent of the province’s emissions in 2013.
As the final piece of the puzzle, Murray stated that money needs to be reinvested back into the industry from cap-and-trade revenues to ease the transition for carriers. “The third piece is you need money. The trucking association, the farmers, banking industry, insurance: All need us to provide the funding for low-carbon technology and fueling.”
OTA agrees with Murray’s statement that the revenues from a cap-and-trade system need to be reinvested into industry to help fleets retool for greater fuel economy under a cap-and-trade regime.
In recent months, OTA has been working with carriers and the natural gas industry on the development of a comprehensive strategy and incentive program for the use of natural gas and other low-carbon technologies in the trucking industry in Ontario.
Due to market risk and other barriers to entry, the natural gas market in Ontario is currently limited. OTA has stated that natural gas technology is tested, reliable and available, more environmentally friendly then diesel, and proven to be successful in other jurisdictions across North America.
OTA continues to work with the government to develop programs to offset the incremental costs associated with natural gas engines, the development of natural gas refueling stations and infrastructure located strategically across Ontario, and regulatory barriers such as tank weight allowances and CCA rates.
OTA is also working on developing alternative fuel programs on electric truck and reefer technology, specifically with the courier sector which could dramatically change the landscape of urban delivery vehicles in the downtown core.
As part of this proposal, offsetting costs of electric reefer units which are mainly used to move food products to and from distribution centres to grocery stores and/or restaurants are also under strong consideration. Many of these destinations are in densely populated urban centres where congestion and pollution from increasing emissions is a continuing issue.
OTA will continue to discuss the implementation of alternative fuel incentive programs with the government, and how the government and the industry can move forward together.