Transport to become largest source of CO2 emissions if politicians don’t act decisively, UN experts warn

The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published today alerts global leaders to the growing threat of uncontrolled transport emissions. The UN's climate panel says that transport is set to become the world’s biggest source of CO2 emissions unless lawmakers take strong action now. The report states: “Without aggressive and sustained policies (to cut COfrom cars and trucks), transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than emissions from any other sector.”

Commenting on the report, Greg Archer, Transport & Environment’s clean vehicles manager, said: “Thanks to EU regulations CO2 emissions from new cars are now falling, but the progress on trucks and vans is glacial. The IPCC report stresses the urgency of taking new initiatives to tackle vehicle emissions, but the European Commission’s response is to repeatedly delay promised strategies to regulate car and van emissions after 2020 and to start addressing soaring emissions from trucks.”

The IPCC report confirms that regulations such as Europe’s CO2 standards for cars are very effective in driving down climate-changing emissions. Analysis by T&E shows the introduction of CO2 limits for cars in Europe tripled the annual rate of fuel efficiency gains [1]. But T&E warns that around half the improvement measured in official tests is actually being delivered by vehicles on the road. The European Commission plans to introduce a new test that closes loopholes in the current system in 2017, which is facing fierce opposition from carmakers.

Ambitious vehicle regulations are also the most effective way to drive the market for e-mobility (electric and hydrogen cars). These have the potential, when powered with renewable electricity, to simultaneously lower carbon emissions and reduce noise and air pollution, which destroy the health and shorten the lives of millions of Europeans.

“Current EU policies to encourage the uptake of electric cars are ineffective and muddled. The new Commission needs to come up with a strategy to reduce all emissions from cars, vans and trucks after 2020 and integrate this with sustainable forms of urban mobility. Ultimately, these policies will put European businesses at the forefront of a global shift to non-polluting vehicles”, Greg Archer concluded. 

Footnotes: 

[1] Prior to the regulation in the period 2000-2007, CO2 emissions in the EU went down by just 1.3% a year. From 2008 to 2013, the average annual rate of improvement has been a 3.5% (http://www.transportenvironment.org/publications/how-clean-are-europes-cars-2013).


Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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