Edits to the landing page of the EPA’s SmartWay ​Program, reducing the emphasis ​on ​climate ​change. Graphic: EDGI / EPA

19 September ​​2017 (EDGI) – The ​Environmental ​Protection ​Agency ​(EPA) ​changed ​language ​on ​the ​SmartWay Program ​website, ​reducing ​mentions ​of ​carbon, ​greenhouse ​gasses, ​and ​climate change. ​Terms ​like ​“sustainability” ​and ​“emissions” ​replaced ​mentions ​of ​“carbon,” and ​emphasis ​on ​international ​SmartWay ​and ​other ​climate ​efforts ​were ​reduced.


The ​EPA’s SmartWay ​Program ​was ​established ​in ​2004 ​to ​help ​companies ​advance ​supply chain ​sustainability ​by ​measuring ​and ​benchmarking ​freight ​transportation ​efficiency. ​On the ​SmartWay ​website, ​mentions ​of ​“greenhouse ​gasses”, ​“carbon”, ​and ​“climate ​change” were ​removed ​in ​favor ​of ​more ​general ​terms ​not ​directly ​connected ​to ​climate ​change, such ​as ​“sustainability”, ​“emissions”, ​and ​“air ​pollution.” ​These ​language ​changes ​occurred at ​the ​same ​time ​as ​general ​information ​and ​statistics ​were ​updated. ​As ​part ​of ​a ​broader trend ​on ​the ​SmartWay ​website ​of ​shifting ​emphasis ​away ​from ​international ​efforts, mentions ​and ​description ​of ​the ​EPA’s ​work ​with ​the ​United ​Nations ​Climate ​and ​Clean ​Air Coalition ​(CCAC) ​and ​links ​to ​the ​CCAC ​website ​were ​removed ​from ​particular ​pages.

The ​most ​notable ​changes ​to ​the ​EPA ​SmartWay ​website ​are ​summarized ​here:

  1. Removed ​mentions ​of ​“carbon” ​and ​“greenhouse ​gasses” ​in ​favor ​of ​more general ​terms
    a. Changed ​title ​of ​the ​“SmartWay ​Carbon ​Accounting ​and ​Reporting” ​webpage to ​“SmartWay ​Sustainability ​Accounting ​and ​Reporting” ​(Change ​1.1a)
    b. Removed ​section ​titled ​“The ​science ​is ​clear ​- ​greenhouse ​gas ​emissions ​from all ​sources ​must ​decrease” ​(Change ​2.2d)
    c. Removed ​terms ​like ​“carbon ​footprint”, ​“carbon ​emissions”, ​“carbon ​data”, and ​“greenhouse ​gasses” ​(Changes ​1.1b-d, ​2.1i, ​2.2a, ​2.2b)
    d. Changed ​terms ​“carbon” ​and ​“greenhouse ​gasses” ​to ​“emissions” ​and ​“air pollutants” ​(Changes ​1.1h, ​2.2f, ​3.1c)
    e. Changed ​the ​word ​“carbon” ​to ​“sustainability” ​(Changes ​1.1a, ​1.1g, ​1.1i, ​1.1k, 1.1l)
  2. Reduced ​emphasis ​on ​climate ​change
    a. Changed ​phrase ​“pollution, ​greenhouse ​gas ​emissions, ​and ​climate ​change” with ​“pollution” ​(Change ​2.2a)
    b. Changed ​term ​“climate ​change” ​to ​“air ​pollution” ​(Change ​2.2e)
    c. Changed ​term ​“climate ​change” ​to ​“cleaner ​air” ​(Change ​2.2g)
    d. Changed ​phrase ​“counter ​climate ​change” ​to ​“protect ​the ​environment” (Change ​4.2c)
    e. Removed ​link ​to ​the ​EPA’s ​climate ​change ​website ​(Change ​1.1m)
  3. Reduced ​emphasis ​on ​international ​SmartWay ​efforts
    a. Removed ​description ​and ​mentions ​of ​the ​EPA’s ​international ​work ​with ​the United ​Nations ​Environment ​Programme’s ​Climate ​and ​Clean ​Air ​Coalition (Changes ​3.1a, ​3.1b, ​3.1d, ​4.2d)
    b. Changed ​phrase ​“Increasingly, ​U.S. ​consumer ​products ​are ​manufactured overseas” ​to ​“Increasingly, ​U.S. ​manufacturing ​relies ​upon ​multiple ​sources and ​modes ​of ​transportation” ​(Change ​2.1f)
    c. Removed ​section ​titled ​“SmartWay ​is ​an ​International ​Leader ​in ​Green Freight” ​in ​exchange ​for ​one ​titled ​“SmartWay ​Demonstrates ​American Leadership ​in ​Green ​Freight.” ​In ​addition ​to ​removed ​information ​about CCAC, ​the ​section ​used ​to ​include ​a ​bullet ​point ​about ​EPA’s ​“training curriculum ​to ​help ​other ​countries ​build ​sustainable ​transportation ​supply chain ​programs ​of ​their ​own” ​(Change ​4.2d-e)

Significantly ​Altered ​EPA ​SmartWay ​Pages

Below ​is ​a ​list ​of ​EPA ​SmartWay ​pages ​and ​corresponding ​URLs ​that ​have ​been ​identified ​as being ​significantly ​altered ​since ​20 ​January ​2017. ​The ​four ​pages ​analyzed ​in ​this ​report were ​selected ​as ​representative ​examples ​of ​the ​type ​of ​language ​changes ​across ​the website. ​The ​previous ​and ​current ​Internet ​Archive ​(IA) ​versions ​of ​the ​corresponding ​pages are ​provided ​for ​reference. ​Not ​all ​of ​the ​more ​than ​30 ​pages ​of ​the ​SmartWay ​website have ​been ​checked ​for ​significant ​alterations. [more]

Changes ​to ​Language ​on ​the ​Environmental ​Protection ​Agency’s SmartWay ​Program ​Website



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