Effectively addressing climate change is possibly the greatest challenge of our time. In 2015 world governments agreed in Paris that global temperature rise must be limited to well below 2ºC, while aiming for 1.5ºC compared to pre-industrial levels. A recent IPCC 1.5º Special Report also recommended "deep emissions reductions" to achieve these temperature goals.
A coalition of 21 NGOs urged Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete to exclude soy- and palm oil-based biodiesel from the list of biofuels eligible to count toward renewable energy targets for transport.
Transport is Europe's biggest climate problem accounting for 27% of its GHG emissions in 2017. This report summarises a series of studies by Transport & Environment. (T&E analysed pathways for decarbonisation in the road freight, aviation, shipping and car sectors.) It demonstrates that transport can and must be decarbonised by 2050 at the very latest, not only to limit global warming but also to ensure Europe's competitiveness, its energy sovereignty and the health and well-being of its 500 million citizens.
This paper presents evidence to dispel many of the myths about electric vehicles and explains why they are key to reducing CO2 emissions from personal mobility.
The biggest failure of the current regulation to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars and vans has been the inability to deliver emissions reductions on the road. Whilst new car CO2 emissions measured using the obsolete laboratory test (NEDC) have fallen by 31% since 2000, on the road the reduction is just 10%. The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 9% in 2000 to 42% in 2017. Had the gap remained constant there would have been 264 Mt CO2eq less cumulative emissions by 2017. The additional fuel burned to produce these emissions cost drivers an extra €150 billion EU-wide.
More than half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks. Palm oil used for biodiesel has increased sharply over the last years while food consumption of palm oil is declining.
The biggest failure of the current car CO2 has been the failure to deliver emissions reductions on the road. Whilst new car CO2 emissions measured using the obsolete laboratory test (NEDC) have fallen by 31% since 2000, on the road the reduction is just, 11%. The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 9 to 42% weakening the regulation, increasing CO2 emissions and raising fuel bills for drivers. The underlying issue was basing the regulation on laboratory tests. Whilst the new WLTP addresses some loopholes, its introduction also creates new flexibilities that the car industry are planning to exploit to undermine both the current regulation to 2020/1 and proposed future regulations for 2025/30.
Light commercial vehicles, or vans, are a neglected area of EU road transport policy as they are often exempt from safety and environmental policy such as driving regulations or tolls, compared to their direct competitors, trucks. This enhances their attractiveness and in part explains why their use and emissions are growing. CO2 standards for van makers are much weaker than for cars, as a result van makers do not deploy the same efficient and innovative technologies to vans to lower their emissions.
This study shows that, in the period 2008 to 2011, a time before CO2 standards for trucks came into effect in the US, truck prices increased but fuel efficiency remained broadly static. Coming into force in 2011, standards ensured the deployment of fuel saving technologies and brought about a 24% fuel efficiency gain from 2011 to 2017.
This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.