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Meeting Paris emission targets won't harm economy: Report

TORONTO, ON --Carbon emissions from freight--road, rail, air, and marine--are growing and set to exceed passenger-vehicle emissions by 2030. And, says a new report from an organization called the Pembina Institute, if this trend isn’t addressed quickly, it will make reaching our climate targets under the Paris Agreement more difficult.

However, there’s good news, at least from Pembina’s perspective.

The report, titled The State of Freight: Understanding greenhouse gas emissions from goods movement in Canada, looks at factors driving the increase of emissions from goods movement and calculates that the cost of meeting emission-reduction targets won’t harm the economy.  

In fact, progress on the emissions front would bring environmental, health and economic wins, including relieving road congestion, cleaner air, more cost-efficient business practices, and more.

“Emissions from goods movement are almost as big as the electricity sector in Canada, yet they receive relatively little public attention,” comments Eli Angen, Ontario regional director, Pembina Institute.

“The good news,” Angen adds, “is that solutions are within our reach. Federal, provincial and municipal governments and industry all have a role to play, and in many cases are already making progress, like the clean fuel standard, vehicle efficiency standards and the federal SmartWay program. We’re excited to continue working with governments and industry, and building public and policy awareness to make sure freight doesn’t stand in the way of Canada meeting its climate goals.”

Quick facts

  • Freight, including road, rail, ship and plane, accounted for 10.5 per cent of total emissions in Canada in 2015, barely less than emissions from the electricity sector. Heavy duty trucking alone made up 9 per cent of those emissions.
  • At 24 per cent, transportation is the second highest source of emissions in Canada, and freight is the fastest growing segment within the sector.
  • Historically, passenger emissions have been the largest source of transportation emissions, but freight is projected to rise, and surpass passenger emissions in 2030.
  • The Canadian economy relies on freight: in 2016, Canada’s exports and imports were valued at $521.3 billion and $547.3 billion respectively.

Click here to read the full report.

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