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February 01, 2022   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Coming to Terms and Time with Carbon

Optimizing the tools we have today ensures progress tomorrow

Time is money and time is carbon. The conversation today is about carbon; its footprint, cutting it, offsetting it, neutralizing it, zeroing it out, reducing it or capturing it. Carbon dioxide’s stay in the atmosphere 300 to 1,000 years, making the value of reducing carbon today significant.

Electric-powered transport charged by 100% renewable energy sources promises big carbon reduction, but getting there will be measured in many decades, not days.

Which is why decarbonizing transportation needs to leverage the fuels and technologies we have that can cut greenhouse gas (GHG) today:  

Did you know, carbon is all around us? It is Element number 6 on the periodic table but the fourth most abundant element in the universe and the 15th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Biologically, carbon holds a significant position and is part of all living systems. In humans, carbon makes about 18.5% of body mass and is the second most abundant element in the body.

Carbon footprints are how much carbon a particular location, vehicle or organization creates in the course of its activities. Corporate and national goals in the effort to cut carbon fall into two categories:

Optimizing the tools we have today ensures progress tomorrow. 

A ton of carbon reduced today means we’ll be closer to hitting the future targets. Granted, getting a 20-80% reduction in GHG emissions today isn’t the same as a 100% reduction, but that 100% reduction now is not possible in a practical sense. Some progress is better than none.

We know the existing fleet of vehicles, engines and equipment are still going to be at work for decades to come. Every little bit we do now to get newer and cleaner trucks and equipment on the road will help us today and in the future. It’s a net win for everyone.


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