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Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer of Aviva Investors, said: “At Aviva Investors we recognise that climate change represents an existential crisis. The EU has long shown global leadership on tackling climate change, from driving for the global agreement in Paris to proposing this year’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan. It is vital this leadership continues through future investment. Electromobility, together with autonomous and shared vehicle use, will be key to tackle traffic congestion, air pollution, and to achieve Europe’s climate targets. This will require major infrastructure investments and the EU must play a big role in steering public and private spending in a sustainable direction.”
The Commission outlined its plans for the post-2020 EU budget in a communication on 2 May. For transport the Commission says it intends future spending to be focused on “innovative infrastructure solutions” with a strong focus on e-mobility, smart grids and energy storage. This intention now needs to be translated into binding rules for all projects funded by the EU.
The letter sent today says the Commission must: ”Make zero emission mobility an explicit objective […] in the Connection Europe Facility (CEF) Regulation for Energy and Transport and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).”
Samuel Kenny, transport officer with Transport & Environment, said: “The Commission has already pledged priority to electromobility. Now it needs to put its money where its mouth is and commit in writing to allocate EU funds to zero-emission transport, renewables and smarter infrastructure.”
“Supporting cleaner and smarter systems for transport and energy will improve the efficiency of both sectors while making Europe a healthier place to live, fostering its industrial leadership in clean technologies, and creating local and skilled jobs,” the letter concludes.
Transport is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Air pollution from road transport contributes to over 400,000 premature deaths per year, and 25,300 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2017. Meanwhile, a large portion of the EU budget is currently spent on building new highways and railroads and building up fossil fuel infrastructure such as LNG terminals, which are likely to become stranded assets in the near future.