By William Todts, freight and climate directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: “So what did you learn in 2016? And could you write a blog about it?" asked our communications officer.Silence. My God, where do I start, I thought. First Brexit, then Trump, and before all that there were people bombed on the metro in my hometown. What a year! But I can't write a doom and gloom Christmas blog.Then somehow I started thinking about this one thing that had really surprised me. A year ago I was campaigning to get the EU to introduce truck CO2 standards and, frankly, things weren’t looking great. Yes, there had been the Paris agreement, but still the odds were stacked against us. The Commission just didn't want to budge and the truck industry seemed all-powerful.
The number of people dying on Europe’s roads nearly halved between 2000 and 2010. However, this spectacular progress has now grinded to a halt. In 2013, 4,000 people died on our roads. Since then until today fatality numbers have remained stable. For already several years the European Commission has promised to come up with a revision of the General Safety Regulation (GSR) which is completely outdated but so far nothing is on the table. Standards set in the GSR would apply to all new vehicles produced and sold in the EU. The GSR is therefore a key instrument to drive vehicle safety developments and accelerate market uptake of and investment in new lifesaving designs and technologies.
Discussing benefits, risks and potential of electrifying city logistics and public transportation, this event addresses representatives of member states, the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament.
The announcement of new CO2 standards for cars, vans and, for the first time in Europe, trucks forms the centrepiece of the EU’s strategy for low-emission mobility and has been welcomed by Transport & Environment (T&E) as a meaningful step in the fight against climate change. But the Commission’s plan is completely devoid of ambition on cutting emissions from aviation and shipping, the sustainable transport group said.
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.
Europe can only meet the climate targets Heads of State agreed on for sectors outside the Emissions Trading System (ETS) if it sets fuel efficiency standards for new cars, vans and lorries by 2025 or earlier, a new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) reveals . In a middle-of-the-road scenario where transport would cut CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 , the study found that CO2 standards for all vehicles (cars, vans and lorries) in 2025 and 2030 would deliver a whopping 42% of the emissions reduction required from transport.
Ahead of the Communication on the European Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy, NGOs wrote to the College of the European Commission asking it to pay special attention to the decarbonisation of transport. They ask commissioners to include a comprehensive strategy for electrification of transport as one of their priorities for moving Europe further down the road of climate and energy security and towards reducing its global land foot-print.
Ahead of its discussion on the EU’s key priorities for the next decade, seven stakeholder organisations from industry, transport and cities wrote to the College of the European Commission regarding the creation of a European Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy. They called on the commissioners to focus on the transport sector, which represents about a third of the EU’s overall energy consumption and is almost exclusively dependent on imported fossil fuels.
Even if carbon prices in Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) trebled from today’s levels , including road transport in the ETS would only reduce oil use and CO2 emissions from transport by 3% over the next 15 years, a new study by Cambridge Econometrics reveals. This level is insufficient for road transport to make a proportionate contribution to Europe’s climate and energy security goals.
The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.