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Transport likely to miss climate target – EEA

January 28, 2015

Progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport is too slow for the EU to meet its long-term goal on cutting transport’s contribution to climate change.

That is the conclusion from new research by the European Environment Agency (EEA). It says greenhouse gas emissions from transport dropped by 3.3% in 2012, but much of that is due to the slow economic recovery in Europe, which raises fears that emissions could go up again if economic growth picks up.

And transport emissions are still more than 20% higher than they were in 1990, leaving a massive challenge if the EU’s target of a 60% reduction between 1990 and 2050 is to be achieved.

The report, Adapting to climate change in Europe, says: ‘Despite the key role of transport and the huge challenges posed by climate change, attention to adaptation is as yet relatively low. While measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport are being implemented and are relatively high on the policy agenda, adaptation to the unavoidable impacts is only at an early stage. It focuses on early, planning stages and less, so far, on implementation.’

Additional research by the EEA shows that energy efficiency in the transport sector increased by 18% between 1990 and 2012, largely due to improved efficiency of cars and aircraft. The speed of improvement has risen in the last 10 years, thanks to CO2 standards for cars introduced in 2009; the average new car in 2013 emitted 127 grams of CO2 per km, 3g below the target for 2015 agreed in 2009. By contrast, lorries – which are not required to meet CO2 standards – and vans, which will only be regulated from 2017, have become less efficient.