Climate 411

Electrifying Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles: A Critical Step Towards Environmental Justice in North Carolina

As the impacts of climate change reveal themselves to North Carolinians in the form of heat, flooding, wildfires, drought, and increasingly intense and more frequent tropical storms, the case for urgent action to combat climate change is strengthening. Our state has made important strides, setting vehicle electrification goals and power sector emissions reductions directives, but new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that levels of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere continued a steady climb in 2023, nonetheless, underscoring that our efforts to reduce emissions from all sources must be tackled with urgency.

One significant source of emissions — medium and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDV) like trucks and buses — is an area of important focus. We know from a 2022 study that, despite constituting only 6.5% of on-road vehicles in North Carolina, MHDVs are responsible for a staggering 34.5% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the transportation sector. Adopting clean transportation policies for MHDVs can make a big difference toward reaching the state’s climate goals and could have a positive impact on North Carolina’s economy — netting nearly $118 billion in health, climate and economic savings over a 25-year period.

And now, in a new analysis, we have further knowledge to inform MHDV policies in the state. Beyond the environmental perspective, there is the human impact that we’ve suspected was significant, and now have data to confirm a disproportionate health burden on marginalized North Carolina communities. This new analysis takes a closer look at localized impacts, examining the communities most affected by MHDV emissions, and exploring the potential health benefits of implementing strong policies to reduce pollution from this sector.

Read More »

Posted in Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Policy / Leave a comment