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Extreme weather and transportation — Net-Zero Carbon

Climate change impacts on weather making trucking conditions more dangerous

(Image: FreightWaves)

On this episode of Net-Zero Carbon, Danny Gomez, managing director of financial and emerging markets at FreightWaves, and Francisco Alvarez, lead data scientist at Convoy, discuss the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather and how it impacts transportation. 

Alvarez, who has a background in meteorology, talks about how truckers pay attention to weather and how important transportation’s role is in reducing emissions.

“There are fewer groups of people who are more weather-aware than drivers. It’s so amazing how in tune they are with the weather,” Alvarez said.

He said many remember experiencing hot summer days when they were young, but the issue is there are more days that are even hotter now in many parts of the world. 

While heavy rains and flooding have occurred sporadically in the past, truckers are being impacted by these conditions more frequently. Alvarez said St. Louis recently broke its all-time record for daily precipitation “and that goes back hundreds of years.”

That flash flood blocked interstates and other major trucking routes. And driving through flooded streets is not a safe option.

“It does not take a lot of water to be able to lift up a truck,” said Alvarez, noting that if a driver decides to try to plow through a flooded road it could put their life in danger. “Being able to communicate the risks and how often those risks are occurring now is super super-important.” 

There’s some skepticism about how the climate and extreme weather are changing. But Alvarez said there are many real extreme weather events happening now that put drivers at risk.

These more extreme conditions are creating unsafe environments for drivers and people all around the world. That’s why “we really need to work together as an industry” and support a “large-scale collective initiative” to reduce emissions, Alvarez said.

Eliminating empty miles is one major way the industry can reduce emissions immediately. Alvarez said that won’t happen overnight, but the sooner such efforts start the better.

View all of FreightWaves’ Net-Zero Carbon episodes and sustainability stories.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.