Established as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation examines environmental issues arising from continental trade and makes recommendations to the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the CEC Council of cabinet-level environmental authorities.
Big rigs at a rest stop in Arizona (Photo by mescalito99)
"This report calls on our three governments to adopt a vision of an integrated, intelligent freight transportation system for North America," said CEC Executive Director Evan Lloyd.
"Without such a vision, and the transformational investments that go with it, greenhouse gas emissions from freight transportation will continue to increase and the NAFTA countries will risk losing their competitive edge," said Lloyd.
"Reducing the environmental impact of freight transportation in the face of increasing trade and economic growth in North America requires much more than continued progress on fuel economy and transport technology," he said. "The report identifies clear opportunities, especially in light of infrastructure-related stimulus investment, to get this right."
Entitled "Destination Sustainability: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America," the report looks at the continental freight transport network, a key component of the transportation sector - the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in North America, after electricity generation.
Trucking across Oklahoma (Photo by Team Express)
Freight transportation is the fastest rising component in that category, the report states. While emissions from passenger vehicles grew by 33 percent between 1990 and 2008, freight-related emissions grew by 74 percent.
Moving freight with trucks offers flexibility, but trucks pose an enormous environmental challenge, producing more carbon dioxide emissions per ton than rail and ships.
While emissions from light-duty vehicles are expected to drop by 12 percent by 2030, freight truck emissions are projected to increase by 20 percent, the report finds.
"This report is something of a roadmap to both sustainability and prosperity," said CEC Advisory Group Chair Bruce Agnew.
"It turns out that, in the freight transportation sector, the best policies and investments for reducing freight-related greenhouse gas emissions are also some of the most effective measures for driving improvements to efficiency and competitiveness," Agnew said.
Prepared under the guidance of a 21 member Advisory Group with input from more than 60 stakeholders from industry, academia, the environmental sector and government, the report has six recommendations:
To find out more, visit: www.cec.org/freight.
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