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The Carbon Footprint of Trucking: Driving Toward A Cleaner Future

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The Carbon Footprint of Trucking: Driving Toward A Cleaner Future


The following content is sponsored by DynCert.

carbon footprint of trucking

The Carbon Footprint of Trucking: Towards a Cleaner Future

The pandemic may have temporarily curbed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but even a global recession can’t negate the impact of transportation—especially the carbon footprint of trucking.

In 2020, lockdowns resulted in an 8% average global decrease in GHG emissions over the first half of the year, when compared to 2019.

As this infographic from dynaCERT shows, trucking remains a significant contributor of GHGs amid booming ecommerce and increased international trade. But innovative solutions can help.

GHGs and the Impact of Trucking

Between 2005 and 2012, global GHG emissions plateaued but have risen every year since.

This growth is not expected to slow in the coming years. Between 2019 and 2050, the amount of atmospheric CO2 is projected to nearly double, from 4.5 to 8.2 gigatons.

Carbon dioxide is not the only substance emitted by trucking that’s detrimental to the environment:

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) Black Carbon (BC)

  • Include carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4)
  • Trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere resulting in a greenhouse effect, or “global warming”
  • Emitted during processes like combustion and livestock farming, and can remain suspended in the atmosphere for decades or even centuries

  • Fine particulate air pollution also known as “soot”
  • Emitted by combustion engines, BC is the second-largest contributor to climate change after CO2
  • BC can remain in the atmosphere for weeks before falling to Earth in rain or snow

Road vehicles have been major contributors to GHG and BC emissions for decades—particularly heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) and diesel-engine vehicles, like those used for long-haul trucking.

Below is a snapshot of trucking’s global carbon footprint, beginning with global road emissions:

Global Road Transportation Heavy-duty Vehicles (Trucks) Diesel Engines

  • Creates nearly 30% of all global CO2 emissions
  • Responsible for 80% of the global rise in GHGs (1970-2020)

  • Contributed 30% of all road transport CO2 emissions in 2015
  • Expected to contribute 41% of all road-vehicle CO2 emissions by 2030
  • Responsible for upwards of 80% of black carbon emissions

  • Larger contributors of CO2 and black carbon than gasoline engines and emit 10 times more N2O
  • Diesel HDVs contributed 86% of N2O emissions in 2015
  • 78% of all on-road diesel black carbon emissions in 2017 were emitted by diesel HDVs

Industry Impact: Logistics and Shopping Show No Signs of Stopping

Ecommerce has become one of the most popular online activities. As a result, we’ve become more dependent on trucking—long-haul and last-mile—for the delivery of our goods, both personal and for business.

That trend is expected to continue:

  • By 2040, it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be facilitated by ecommerce
  • By 2022, e-retail revenues are projected to double from $3.53 trillion in 2019 to $6.54 trillion
  • Logistics is already a $6.5 trillion industry, of which trucking makes up 43%

Combined with international trade, the impact on long-haul and last-mile transport—and CO2 emissions—becomes more pronounced every year, and has accounted for the 80% rise in worldwide GHG emissions from 1970 to 2010.

Although last-mile transport is increasingly reliant on electric vehicles, long-haul trucking still relies heavily on fossil fuels that emit GHGs like CO2.

As a result, road freight’s contribution to CO2 emissions is projected to grow to 56% by 2050.

The Carbon Market: Reducing Emissions and Improving Bottom Lines

In 1997, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) developed a carbon credit proposal—the Kyoto Protocol—to reduce global carbon emissions. It has guided policies ever since, leading to a proliferation of green strategies that mitigate climate risk and improve business operations.

Companies can leverage this opportunity with a multi-pronged, integrated approach that results in a patented way to harness the carbon market, while improving operations and bottom lines:

The Carbon Market Technological Solutions & Carbon Credits

  • Carbon credits are released to companies, helping to reduce GHG emissions by incentivizing environmental measures
  • Allows for efficiencies and credit trading
  • By embracing technology that improves fuel efficiency and optimizes fleets, companies reduce emissions while storing credits for trading

  • Aided by dynaCERT and certified by Verra, extra carbon credits can be captured at a 50/50 shared value
  • Simultaneously, emission-reduction technology and routing software optimizes fleets, reduces GHGs, and enables carbon credit accumulation and trading
  • Responsible for upwards of 80% of black carbon emissions

The benefits of integrated solutions range from improved driver safety and retention to optimized routes, fuel savings, and carbon credit accumulation.

Heavy-Duty Solutions: Driving a Cleaner Future

The long-term impact of the ecommerce boom on CO2 emissions remains to be seen. But it’s coming up quickly on the horizon.

When the weight of the pandemic is lifted, we are likely to encounter more than a transformed economy. An evolving global transport network—supported by technological innovation and new policies like those planned by the U.S. Biden government—is likely to enable more opportunities on the carbon market and pave the way for a greener future.

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The post The Carbon Footprint of Trucking: Driving Toward A Cleaner Future appeared first on Visual Capitalist.



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