What would happen without new measures to cut freight emissions?

This is the first in a series of eight snippets about how to decarbonise land freight by 2050. Based on a new T&E study, the series will culminate in a public debate in Brussels in September.

T&E, using its new European Union Transport Roadmap Model (EUTRM) tool, has calculated how greenhouse gas emissions from land freight transport would evolve up to 2050 if no new measures are introduced to reduce its emissions, i.e. under a business-as-usual scenario. Trucks represent less than 5% of all vehicles on Europe’s roads today but are responsible for around 26% of all road transport CO2 emissions.

The graph above shows that unless measures are taken, emissions from land freight would increase by 45%, trucks being responsible for almost all of that increase, especially large trucks. Transport is already Europe’s largest climate problem, and freight is the most difficult sector to decarbonise within land transport.

Most of the growth in emissions from trucks comes from increased freight transport demand (which is still coupled to economic growth) and a very minor improvement in heavy goods vehicle efficiency.

However, in order to reach the goals of the Paris agreement, transport needs to reach zero emissions by 2050, including land freight. T&E has done an in-house study on how that could be done, in order to spark debate at EU level on the necessary measures to reach that challenging goal. From the graph above, it is clear that the EU needs a long-term decarbonisation strategy for land freight if it takes the Paris agreement seriously.

For more details, have a look at sections 1 and 2 of our new study.

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About the author

Carlos Calvo Ambel's picture

Manager, Analysis and Climate