A cross-party group of MEPs has called on the European Commission to table an ambitious proposal to reduce carbon emissions from trucks as soon as possible.
The United States has set new standards for carbon dioxide emissions from lorries, which are sufficiently ambitious to threaten to leave Europe’s truck-making industry behind. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) described the new standards as ‘a big win-win’ for their potential to cut both costs and greenhouse gases, while T&E said they were ‘as much about environmental leadership as about innovation’.
Some delivery trucks have a blind spot of up to 1.9 metres while the best in their class have virtually none because of lower cabs and bigger windows, according to a team at a UK design school. Closing that gap could save hundreds of pedestrian and cyclists’ lives.
National emissions-reduction targets proposed for the transport, agriculture and buildings sectors include loopholes that would put their delivery at serious risk, environmental groups have warned. The regulation proposed by the European Commission will determine how member states share the burden of meeting the EU’s climate goals by 2030.
Trucks can cut carbon emissions by up to 40% if the EU sets CO2 standards now, according to a new analysis by leading research group the ICCT. The preliminary figures show that European heavy-duty vehicles could slash their emissions 27% by 2025 and up to 40% better by 2030, thereby saving hauliers on fuel bills.
There is broad support among EU environment ministers for new CO2 standards for trucks and strengthened CO2 standards for cars. A large number of those attending an informal council of transport and environment ministers in Amsterdam last month said the measures would be required to ensure the necessary transition towards a low and zero emission transport sector in 2050 in order to combat climate change, air pollution and ‘green’ Europe’s economy.
A German trade body has uncovered evidence of a lorry exhaust manipulation scam ‘on an industrial scale’. Camion Pro says its research suggests around 20% of lorries using German roads have had their NOx emissions reduction technology manipulated by the scam that is rife in eastern Europe, causing increased pollution and losses of income from the German motorway toll scheme.
Switzerland has voted in favour of building a second road tunnel through the Gotthard alpine mountain. In a referendum in late February, the Swiss electorate voted by 57% to 43% to approve a second road tunnel, despite it appearing to contradict the Swiss constitution that commits the country to shifting goods transport from road to rail. The vote has been widely seen as part of a political swing to the right, which has been accompanied by a weakening of public willingness to support environmental measures.
CO2 standards for new vehicles have been proven to work and new targets should be introduced for 2025 and 2030, a report for the European Parliament’s transport committee has said. The limited quantities of available biofuels are also highlighted, while the shift to electric vehicles is ‘inevitable’.
Leaked plans by car and truckmakers to cut carbon emissions of their vehicles in Europe – by resurfacing all roads in the EU at a cost of more than €520 billion – have been criticised as an abdication of the sector’s climate responsibility. Industry body ACEA’s ‘Joining forces’ initiative calls for greater efficiencies through major investments such as in lower rolling resistance tarmac, but fails to identify new CO2 standards for vehicles.