• Back to the future as 2050 roadmap published

    Europe’s road transport in 2050 will involve lower speed limits and very few internal combustion engines. That is the vision that emerges from a Commission consultation on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Europe’s transport sector.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The report, which ends a 15-month consultation with around 100 interested parties from industry and the environmental movement, says a mixture of technical and non-technical options could reduce emissions from transport by 89% between 1990 and 2050, whereas a 74% rise is foreseen under ‘business as usual’.

    The conclusions suggest that technical measures alone – including doubling the greenhouse gas efficiency of biofuels and replacing nearly all internal combustion engines with electric cars or cars with some form of fuel cell – will achieve a 36% reduction. Such a cut requires all the electricity needed to power the vehicles coming from renewable sources. It shows that part of the GHG reductions from technical improvements is undermined by rebound effects and that non-technical measures are needed to ensure that promised GHG cuts are achieved in practice.

    Among the non-technical measures recommended are lowering speed limits, and reorganising taxes and charges so that forms of transport that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases lose all subsidies.

    T&E director Jos Dings said, ‘This report again demonstrates the importance of strong technical measures. But it truly adds value by being sober about what technical measures can achieve by themselves – which is not as much as we need. It demonstrates that deep greenhouse gas cuts can only be achieved if we address the fundamental drivers of transport emissions. That means getting rid of subsidies, starting with aviation and company cars. It means introducing serious carbon pricing in all modes. And, last but not least, it means managing transport speeds, and not just on the road.’