Press Release

EU Energy Union: good intentions, short on specifics, backtracking on trucks

February 25, 2015

The European Commission’s Energy Union strategy for cleaner cars and electrification of transport is welcome but the removal of CO2 standards for trucks and buses is a disappointing concession to special interests, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment has said. The inclusion of aviation and shipping in the 2030 reduction commitment – which covers all sectors and sources of emissions – is now clear, and the call for the Paris climate conference to set a 2016 deadline for action by ICAO and IMO is timely.

The strategy’s commitment for decarbonisation and electrification of transport, including rail, in Europe is a good starting point and tighter CO2 standards for cars and vans are also welcome – but they need to be introduced from 2025. CO2 standards for trucks have been dropped from the final version, risking the EU falling behind Japan and the US while it urgently needs to catch up to end 20 years of stagnation in fuel economy. The communication also mentions biofuels and biomass sustainability policy and, after the crucial vote on biofuels reform in the European Parliament, T&E thinks this should include indirect impacts of biofuels production and provide no further support for land-based biofuels.

Every year Europe spends around €300 billion on oil imports, most of it to keep transport wheels turning. The transport sector is the largest source of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.

T&E director Jos Dings commented: “We welcome the Commission’s good intentions on cleaner cars and the electrification of transport, including rail. But shying away from an earlier commitment to introduce CO2 standards for trucks and buses is an entirely unwelcome concession to special interests. Now that the Commission has clarified that aviation and shipping are in the 2030 reduction commitment, we need to see follow-through at both EU and international level.”

In its Road to Paris communication, the EU confirms that aviation and shipping fall under its 2030 reduction commitments and gives the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) a deadline to regulate emissions by the end of 2016. The two sectors are Europe’s fastest-growing sources of emissions and oil use, and their emissions are expected to rise by up to 250% globally by 2050. Moreover both are exempt from all fuel taxes and VAT.

Bill Hemmings, T&E’s bunkers manager, said: “Aviation and shipping account for around 8% of the current global warming problem and, with their emissions expected to grow by 250% by 2050, it is essential that these sectors are included in a global climate deal. At the same time the EU should not hold its breath – it’s clear that the Energy Union strategy requires new and additional domestic measures for these sectors now.”

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