• EU law to boost alternative fuels infrastructure is ‘dead letter’, NGO says

    The Council of the EU today passed the infrastructure for alternative fuels law, failing to boost the development of a low-carbon European transport network. The enacted law drops all binding targets for electric charging points or hydrogen. Transport & Environment has said the law is a ‘dead letter’ because it will do nothing to set a level playing field for alternative fuels to fairly compete with oil in transport energy, and called for a broad strategy for clean e-mobility.

    Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager of Transport & Environment, said: “It’s unfortunate that this emperor ended up having no clothes because governments could not accept binding commitments for low-carbon charging infrastructure. Europe can and should do better and initiate a comprehensive strategy on e-mobility. This continent needs to join the race for clean innovation, cut its €300bn oil import bill and reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible.”
    EU countries must only develop national action plans and install an ‘appropriate number of electric recharging points accessible to the public’ by the end of 2020. EU-wide action is off the table and the deal only includes a review in 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, e-mobility will continue to evolve in a very uneven way across Europe. 
    Policies to promote a shift towards cleaner, lower carbon vehicles and fuels should enable different options to compete on the basis of their environmental performance. However, the virtual monopoly use of oil for transport requires initial policy interventions to enable environmentally better solutions, like sustainable e-mobility, to emerge and eventually compete in equal terms. If done well, e-mobility will be a key element in shifting to lower carbon transport and can also drastically reduce both air and noise pollution. 
    Today’s final adoption of the law by the Council follows an agreement reached at first reading with the European Parliament in March of this year.
    The law will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal, which is expected to take place later this week.