Freight transport will have to be eco-friendly
With 7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions attributed to freight transport, companies and authorities will have to find clean sources of energy to prevent higher levels of pollution, experts from the industry suggest.
According to numbers regarding the world’s transport of goods, emissions from trade-related activities are estimated to increase by a factor of 3.9, by 2050. As a result, greenhouse gases and other polluting emissions will also increase. However, experts agree there is hope for the industry to lower the amount of pollution cargo transport usually generates. For instance, the Head of the Transport Section at UNCTAD, Frida Youssef has been talking about this issue and proposes solutions to lower emissions.
Among the most efficient ways to reduce pollution, Ms. Youssef mentions a better use of technology and innovative solutions, cleaner fuels, more efficient transport and better regulations. UNCTAD will continue to assist developing countries to choose the best policies, to help fix their environmental issues and resolve any other challenges related to transport.
One way to go for developing countries to increase the efficiency of their freight transport is to focus on the legal aspects. China, for instance, is working to implement its ‘2012 China Green Freight Initiative’. This set of laws and regulations focuses on ways to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 and other sources for air pollution. This can be achieved by working with cleaner technologies and having smart freight management operations.
Another way to reduce greenhouse gases is to eliminate the source altogether. Every transport industry, in the road, rail, sea and air sectors, can benefit from reduced emissions. Using clean technologies and clean fuels can help achieve better results. In Europe, for instance, the target share for electric means of transport is supposed to reach 80% of all road vehicles, by the year 2050. As a result, electricity consumed by electric-powered vehicles alone would increase from 0.03% of Europe’s total, in 2014, to around 9.5%, by 2050. Overall, today’s transport in Europe is responsible for around 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the region.
More impressive are the target numbers set for greenhouse gases. Accordingly, the European Union plans to ‘reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80‒95% by 2050’, says the EEA Executive Director, Hans Bruyninckx. However, the expert agrees that electric vehicles alone can’t solve the problems caused by fossil fuels. He explains that ‘other problems, such as growing demand for transport and congestion, remain and need to be addressed as well’
Overall, the EU could witness a net reduction of 255 million tons of CO2 by 2050, which is 10% of the estimated emissions for that year. Furthermore, other pollutants would be able to see significant improvements, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.