Partnering with Pembina to
help curb freight emissions

Lisa Stilborn

Lisa Stilborn is the Canadian Fuels Association’s Vice-President, Ontario

​The transportation sector accounts for approximately a quarter of Canada’s GHG emissions, and even more in my home province of Ontario. What many Canadians may not know is that the fastest growing source of emissions is not passenger vehicles, but freight. The error is understandable. Governments have tended to focus emission-reduction efforts on passenger vehicles through regulation and by offering fuel-switching incentives, for example, such as expensive rebates for electric vehicles.

Truck transport currently makes up nine percent of Canada’s total emissions and is set to overtake passenger vehicle emissions by 2030. Several factors are driving this growth: a healthy economy, increasingly dynamic global trade markets, and rising population numbers, especially in large urban areas. Consumer preferences also have a role to play—particularly our growing preference for online shopping, which adds to shipping activity.


The search for solutions

So what can realistically be done to reduce truck transportation emissions? Canadian Fuels recently partnered with the Pembina Institute to find out. We co-sponsored a Pembina report that underscores the complexity of addressing freight emissions and makes it clear that there is no silver bullet solution. State of Freight: Understanding greenhouse gas emissions from goods movement in Canada highlights the need for a multi-pronged approach that engages industry, consumers and all three levels of government to achieve meaningful reductions. The report mentions regional and municipal governments in particular for the key role they can play by fully integrating the movement of goods into land-use planning decisions.

State of Freight notes that emissions reduction solutions already exist, such as the current Phase 2 Heavy Duty Vehicle regulations that will continue to impact new trucks until 2027. The report also encourages governments to continue with efforts to roll out energy efficiency measures.

Perhaps most important, the report highlights the value of climate policies that broadly impact the Canadian economy. The federal carbon-pricing proposal, for example, is expected to drive long-term GHG reductions in the freight sector once it comes into effect in 2018.

Canadian Fuels looks forward to continued collaboration with Pembina, which is engaged in a range of projects to support freight emissions reductions at the national and regional levels.


For more than 30 years, the Pembina Institute has collaborated with communities, businesses and civil society groups to develop effective environmental solutions. The State of Freight report is available on the Pembina website at