The two stories below are taken from this week’s News Scan which is a weekly summary of the major climate-change related science, technology, and policy advances of direct relevance to the B.C. provincial and the Canadian federal governments and more generally to businesses and civil society. The News Scan focuses on cutting edge climate issues and solutions gathered by the fellows and faculty of ISIS, a research centre at the Sauder School of Business, in partnership with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). Access to some referenced articles may require a journal subscription or purchase of the article, and appropriate links are provided for this purpose.
Fleet operators pushing toward ‘green’
June 12, 2010. Owners of many of the USA’s largest commercial fleets are experimenting with alternative-fuel vehicles, driven in part by tougher federal and state emissions rules and in part by the recession and uncertain fuel prices. One example is telecommunications giant AT&T, which is in the early stages of a 10-year, US$565 million initiative to replace more than 15,000 vehicles (of its total 77,000) with more fuel-efficient models, including those powered by compressed natural gas or other alternative fuels. Wal-Mart is also testing diesel-electric hybrid trucks and is retrofitting 15 trucks to run on reclaimed waste cooking grease collected from its stores, while the United Parcel Service (UPS) has 2000 vehicles (of its 100,000 global force) running on alternative fuels. The trucking industry is an important contributor to greenhouse gases in the US: the transportation sector (including non-commercial) accounts for 28 percent of US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Key to these companies’ emissions-reducing strategies, according to UPS, is a diversified approach to new technologies for reducing fleet emissions.
The trend in the US toward experimentation for greening trucking fleets has strong implications for BC: the province’s transport GHG emissions constitute 36% of total emissions. The BC government has a number of transport emissions reductions initiatives, including education and tax incentives and mandatory emissions testing. In addition BC will implement a low carbon fuel standard, based on California’s standards, although some have criticized the standard because of possible environmental loopholes that may affect its total environmental efficacy. Comprehensive policy to support the emerging trend of alternative fuels to reduce transport emissions, both in Canada and the US, will help spur BC companies such as Westport that provide technological solutions to economically lower GHG outputs of trucking fleets. Read MORE On statesman