OTTAWA, March 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Freight transport-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (largely from trucks) constitute a substantial share of GHG emissions produced in the U.S. and Canada. Moreover, despite impressive improvements in fuel and engine efficiency, truck-generated emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are likely to increase - making this an important area for policy attention, according to a Conference Board of Canada report issued today.
"Discussions in North America about freight truck transportation and climate change have tended to focus on particular methods-alternative fuels, new engine technologies, a carbon tax, or a cap-and-trade policy for the sector. While these discussions are important, they have not, however, focused as much attention on how to bring any of these approaches online, or on the system-wide implications in doing so," said Stephen Blank, author of Freight Trucks and Climate Change Policy: Mitigating CO2 Emissions, for The Conference Board of Canada's International Trade and Investment Centre.
"Nor has there been much discussion about building a strategy, either historically or at the present time, that would attract sufficient stakeholder and political support to get any of these measures through the policy-making process. We still do not think in terms of a 'North American solution.'"
To address these gaps in a North America-wide strategy, the following steps are recommended:
- Look at the freight truck transport system as a whole, rather than at
individual modes. Mitigating freight transport-generated emissions
involves complex networks, and changes in one point of the network
will affect the rest of it. For example, producing cleaner heavy
trucks might well increase the number of trucks on the highways-which
would, in turn, require substantial new highway construction.
- Pay more attention to what others - particularly in Europe - are
doing, and learn from their experiences.
- Develop an institution or process that can support North American
collaboration on reducing GHG emissions from trucks. Environmental
problems associated with freight truck transportation must be viewed
in continental terms, not as three separate national issues.
Stephen Blank is the Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor of Canada-U.S. Business and Economic Relations at Western Washington University, and a Senior Fellow of the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI).
The report is published by the Conference Board of Canada's International Trade and Investment Centre. The centre is intended to help Canadian leaders better understand what global economic dynamics - such as global and regional supply chains, domestic barriers to trade, US policies, or tighter border security-could mean for public policies and business strategies.
SOURCE Conference Board of Canada
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