Transportation Catching Industry as the Leading Cause of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new study from University of Michigan researchers tallies, and then compares, the greenhouse gas emissions from different sectors of the U.S. economy.

1 minute read

July 22, 2016, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Amazon Delivery

Frank Gaertner / Shutterstock

"Transportation isn’t the only sector that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in our world, but it’s a big chunk, and it’s portion is growing," according to an article by Charlie Sorrel.

Sorrel is sharing new research by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, from the University of Michigan, charted emissions across sectors of the U.S. economy since 1990, finding that industry continues to decrease its emissions while transportation continues to increase its emissions.

"Despite a growth in GDP in the U.S. over the same period, industrial emissions decreased by 11% in the quarter-century covered by the study," explains Sorrel. Compare that to transportation, where medium to big trucks are responsible for most of that sectors increasing emissions. "Sivak and Schoettle’s study shows that relative emissions from medium-to-large trucks have almost doubled since 1990, from 3.6% to 6.0%" Sorrel credits that rise in part to delivery services like Amazon. That fact is particularly relevant to planners as they will continue to confront the effects of expanding delivery services in cities and communities around the world. 

The article includes more details about the findings of the study, and what they mean for the impact of the economy on the environment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 in Fast Co.Exist

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