Season’s Heatings: EPA Says Logistics Industry to Blame for Global Warming

Dec. 21, 2009
EPA’s findings that transportation activity is responsible for endangering the planet is leaving a lot of logistics managers out in the cold.

Guess what? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the logistics industry is directly to blame for climate change and all that it entails. That includes things like "the occurrence and intensity of events such as hurricanes and floods," "changes in air quality," "increases in food- and water-borne pathogens," and in case you’re not getting a clear enough picture of just how influential your logistics activities are to the entire world, the EPA has concluded that motor transportation is directly responsible for "endangerment to public welfare," and most particularly, "children, the elderly, and the poor."

Quite a stinging indictment, especially during the holiday season. If the EPA is to be believed, logistics managers make Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch look like Mother Teresa.

I won't ask you to struggle through the entire document, which weighs in at close to 300 pages and is written in typical government-speak gobbledygook; instead, I'll excerpt a key passage from the EPA's recent document, "Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act" (this from page 21):

"The transportation sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions both in the United States and in the rest of the world. The transportation sources covered under CAA [Clean Air Act] section 202(a)—the section of the CAA under which these Findings occur—include passenger cars, light- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and motorcycles. These transportation sources emit four key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons. Together, these transportation sources are responsible for 23 percent of total annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making this source the second largest in the United States behind electricity generation."

The phrase "greenhouse gas emissions" is itself government-speak because the very use of those words assumes that the greenhouse effect not only is real but that it is in fact man-made. As we've seen in recent weeks, in the fallout from the ClimateGate scandal, scientific data that questions many assumptions about global warming have been squelched over the years, while other data have been manipulated to strengthen the case that climate change is indeed happening.

As a result, nobody knows quite what to believe anymore, although you can get a clearer picture as to what’s going on if you follow the money. There’s plenty of green being affected right now, but most of it seems to be of the type that has portraits of dead presidents on the front. In short, as we're learning from the Copenhagen climate conference, many politicians throughout the world are anticipating a hefty payday, whether through new taxes or through handouts from the wealthier nations.

In any event, the EPA document states in no uncertain terms that the transportation industry's impact on global warming is significant and profound. Elections have consequences, and one of those consequences is that you're going to have to pay to play if you want your trucks to keep emitting greenhouse gases into the environment. You may think the EPA's conclusions are mostly humbug, but nevertheless, that’s the world you're living in now.

Dave Blanchard is editorial director of Logistics Today.

This article originally appeared in the Logistics Today digital magazine. To read other articles from that issue, click here:

Related Articles:
Green Is Good Business
Supreme Court Says EPA Must Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

About the Author

Dave Blanchard | Senior Director of Content

During his career Dave Blanchard has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeek, EHS Today, Material Handling & Logistics, Logistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. He also serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

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