Trucking industry speaks out on Kyoto agenda

by Canadian Shipper

In a speech to the Ottawa Kiwanis Club Friday, David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance said that new truck emission standards, which will be progressively introduced starting in October of this year, put the trucking industry into a Catch-22 situation with regard to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG).

The problem according to Bradley is two-fold: first, improving fuel efficiency is the only solution to reducing GHG. Diesel fuel use produces two main GHGs – carbon dioxide and methane – neither of which, according to Health Canada, directly cause air pollution. Second, the other freight transportation modes, like the railways, are not being required to introduce engines and fuel that reduces health-related emissions.

“The dramatic reduction in the truck health-related emissions will be accompanied by a fuel efficiency penalty. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the new engine technologies designed to reduce the
health-related emissions will also increase fuel consumption by between 2% and 4.5%. Given Canadian weather and the condition of our highways, the impact could be worse in Canada,” said Bradley.

Bradley said that with increasing fuel costs already causing havoc with industry cost structures, truckers already have a built in incentive to maximize fuel efficiency.

“But, the reality is that to eliminate the emissions that impair the health of our children and the elderly, we are being mandated by regulation to consume more fuel – and more expensive fuel at that. At the same time, there appears to be no desire by government to compel the other freight modes to clean up their act,” he said.

CTA says it is concerned that the federal government will reward the trucking industry for becoming ultra-clean from a health perspective by penalizing it for GHG emissions.

“It makes no sense from a health, an environmental, or an economic point of view that all modes not be required to be meet the same standards as the trucks. While some may hope that this unequal sharing of the environmental and health burden will shift freight from truck to rail, all that would mean is replacing a health sensitive mode with one that uses unhealthy fuel and engines. The federal government’s own studies confirm this outcome and also
make it clear that modal shift is not an answer to the global warming phenomenon,” said Bradley.

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