How much pollution does Christmas generate? The new analysis of Transport & Environment estimates an increase of 133% in emissions due to freight transport in December. To give an idea of the quantity, it is the equivalent of emissions generated by 9,500 return flights Paris – New York. According to the organization it is essential to switch to electrical means.
“The bill of the traditional exchange of gifts with which we celebrate Christmas should not be paid by the Planet” said Andrea Boraschi, Responsible for Clean Vehicles of Transport & Environment Italy, “More generally, in a world where the traffic of goods is in the constant increase we must urgently reduce the environmental footprint and climate of the logistic activities. The fastest and most effective solution we can put in place for road logistics is the electrification of these transports. Even in the area of cargo handling, in fact, electric vehicles are the most efficient and less emissive technology among those currently available”.
The logistics of Christmas gifts make pollution soar
Throughout Europe this year December will produce a surge in emissions due to the increase in road freight transport. The T&E analysis predicts an increase of 133% in levels of nitrogen oxide and CO2 for logistical activities related to trade: the figure concerns consumer goods comparable to gifts, thus excluding the emissions generated by the sale of food.
Emissions of nitrogen oxides, stresses a note of the association, have already been at the center of the scandal Dieselgate and every year bring 49 thousand premature deaths throughout Europe, 11 thousand in Italy. The investigation shows how, in this month, they are destined to arrive at 10.300 tons and emphasizes the urgency of the electrification of the logistics and the substitution of the trucks with vehicles with zero emissions.
“Road freight transport is a highly polluting activity whose impact increases enormously during the Christmas period,” explained Boraschi. “Zero emission trucks are an effective alternative and are ready to enter markets and roads. If the European Union were to adopt the right policies and send the necessary signals to producers to stimulate real mass production, these clean means could quickly become the cheapest and most sustainable option for the benefit of the air we breathe and the climate“.
Is urgent to electrify the logistics
The analysis of Transport & Environment monitors the effects of Christmas on pollution along the international routes crossed by most logistics. The goods that we discard under the tree will pass through these tracts for only 10% on rubber, but this will be enough to contribute to almost half of the total emissions of this period. Just under half (45%) of the CO2 that comes from the transport of a good from China to Rome, they explain, is generated in the stretch of road transport: for a good delivered to Warsaw the figure will reach 51%, 60% for one directed to Madrid.
These numbers, in times of ecological transition, push the organization to urge political decision-makers to encourage the transition to non-polluting vehicles by fixing 2035 the phase-out for trucks with endothermic engines. “Doing so – they explain – would favor a growing penetration of these means on the market determining already in 2030 a reduction of 11% in the emissions of CO2 from the logistics on rubber. The decline would reach 48% five years later“.
The issue of pollution in goods transport is not just about Christmas, it is also about European debate. Is of a few days ago the news that a net of enterprises – between which Siemens, Unilever, Maersk and PepsiCo – has asked the European Parliament to take part in order to interrupt the polluting logistics with a series of certain expirations, so as to stimulate companies to introduce electric vehicles and green hydrogen.