E-commerce, on track to emit the same CO2 each year as 44 coal-fired power plants

Madrid (EFE) – The main companies in e-commerce They are on track to release CO2 into the atmosphere equivalent to what 44 coal-fired power plants emit each year, according to an analysis that finds Amazon and four other giants in the sector still depend on fossil fuels to deliver their packages.

The work, which is carried out jointly by the network Clean Mobility Collective (CMC) and research group Stand.earth Research Group (SRG)predicts that if the current growth rate of online shopping continues, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – which are responsible for climate change – will increase exponentially by 2030, and warns that cases of aggravated diseases will skyrocket due to air pollution.

Amazon logistics, DHL eCommerce Solutions, UPS, FedEx and Geopost, leading companies in deliveries associated with online orders“are failing to deliver on their promise to deploy zero-emission vehicles and avoid disclosing enough data related to last-mile emissions,” the study, which reflects the impact of the rise of e-commerce on climate and health, points out.

If the current trend continues, the annual global shipping volume could even double, from more than 315 billion packages in 2022 to as many as 800 billion per year in 2030, according to the study.

Even without taking into account these growth projections, the authors calculate that, if there are no changes in the composition of the multinational e-commerce fleet, global shipments will broadcast in 2030 to 160 megatons of CO2 each year, which is equal to what is emitted by 44 coal-fired power plants.

“This means that more than a billion trees would have to be planted every year and left to grow for ten years to save the pollution it produces carbon dioxide emissions from last mile delivery“, the researchers claim, in relation to the last leg of the delivery, from the distribution warehouse to the delivery point, which is not necessarily one mile.

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Impact of e-commerce emissions

“Last-mile emissions from e-commerce companies are expected to translate into up to 168,000 cases of increased asthma, up to 285,000 cases of respiratory symptoms, and up to 9,500 premature deaths,” they said in their analysis, titled ” “The Cost Convenience: Uncovering the Hidden Impacts of Global package industry on climate and health.”

According to Amazon Sustainability Report 2021less than 7% of all the company’s deliveries in Europe are made in electric vehicles or other forms of clean mobility, while in the United States that figure drops to 1%, they add to emphasize that while Amazon has committed to deploying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, they currently only about 3,000 are in circulation.

They warn that transport linked to these orders could exacerbate the climate crisis, as this sector is the “world’s largest source of new greenhouse gas emissions”, responsible for 12% of global emissions and 29% of Spanish emissions.

Despite the environmental costs, according to a survey published at the end of April by e-commerce logistics platform Packlink, 76% of consumers think it’s worth it. online shopping’ They must always be free, a percentage that is 3% higher than last year’s estimates.

By generation, Packlink found that the youngest – generally more “conscious” of transport’s climate footprint, they point out – are the most receptive to paying for refunds, while baby boomers are the most reluctant.

Their report claims that the return rate for online purchases can reach 30%, compared to less than 10% in physical stores.

Photo: EFE/ David Borrat

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