Transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem, representing 27% of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions. Transport is the only major sector in which emissions have grown since 1990, driving an increase in the EU’s overall emissions in 2017. If the EU wants to deliver on the climate commitments made with the Paris Agreement, Europe needs smarter, more ambitious transport policies.
We believe Europe should have the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions and air and noise pollution from transport; zero-emission vehicles, planes and ships; and pricing that makes polluters pay for pollution, not society as a whole. Below is an overview of our main areas of work.
Air quality remains one of the major environmental problems. Europe needs well-enforced air pollution legislation for cars, trucks, diesel machines and ships.
Read more about Air quality and transport
In its current form the EU law promoting biofuels for transport will lead to higher, not lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions up to 2020. Furthermore, for the period 2020-2030, the EU could still allow some unsustainable biofuels in the market, including rapeseed and palm oil biodiesel, as the Commission has only proposed a 3.8% limit on food-based biofuels without accounting for their full climate impacts. T&E and other environmental organisations are campaigning for Europe to stop promoting the use of unsustainable biofuels after 2020 and to fully address the environmental impact of indirect land use change (ILUC) caused by biofuel production. Find out more about our position on the latest Commission proposal on biofuels, download our briefing on the most recent ILUC study (Globiom) and take a look at a dedicated website on the biofuels reform.
Read more about Biofuels
Trucks have a major impact on global warming. While only accounting for 5% of the vehicles on the road in the European Union, they are responsible for 22% of road transport CO2 emissions and this is only expected to grow. Road freight transport is projected to increase by 56% between 2010 and 2050. At the same time 4,000 EU citizens die in truck accidents year after year. To tackle these problems, Europe needs to introduce truck CO2 standards, mandatory sales targets for zero emission trucks and effective vehicle safety regulations without any delay.
Read more about Cleaner, safer trucks
Following the Dieselgate scandal, the EU overhauled the way cars are tested and approved. Learn more about reforms to combat emissions cheating by industry.
Read more about Dieselgate and stopping test cheating
As well as improving the efficiency of vehicles, the world needs to reduce the emissions that result from the production of transport fuels. That means improving refinery efficiency, cleaning up the dirtiest sources like tar sands and coal-to-liquid and stopping wasteful gas flaring.
Read more about Dirty Oil
Road transport is Europe' s largest source of CO2 emissions, accounting for 20% of all emissions. Cars are the biggest problem and their emissions keep rising. To achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC, car emissions must be zero by 2050 at the latest, meaning the last diesel or petrol car should be sold no later than early 2030s.
Read more about Electric cars
Flying is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the most climate-intensive form of transport. Aviation emissions have more than doubled in the last 20 years and the sector is responsible for an estimated 4.9% of man-made global warming. T&E campaigns with other actors, including members of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), for ambitious global and regional targets to reduce emissions within the aviation sector, for full inclusion of aviation in the European Union’s (EU) strategy to meet its reduction targets, and for removing exemptions on fuel taxation and Value Added Tax (VAT) for airlines in the EU.
Read more about Flying and climate change
Rail is one of the greener modes of transport and having a higher share of passenger and freight journeys performed by train is fundamental for decarbonising the transport sector.
Read more about Rail
Shipping is a growing source of transport greenhouse gas emissions and a major source of air pollution, causing health problems, acid rain and eutrophication.
Read more about Shipping and the environment
Europe needs sustainable finance policies – to make the right investments and send the right price signals – to decarbonise its transport sector.
Read more about Sustainable finance
The EU has binding climate targets for 2020 and 2030 which apply to transport. By signing the Paris Agreement, the EU also implicitly accepted 2050 targets.
Read more about Transport climate targets and the Paris Agreement
Fuel bills represent one third of the total cost of ownership of a van, making fuel an important business cost. At the same time, vans are one of the fastest growing sources of CO2 emitted from transport, increasing by 26% between 1995 and 2010; in 2014 vans accounted for 9% of road transport emissions in the EU (28 member states).
Read more about Vans
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), noise is second only to air pollution in the impact it has on health. It is a major cause, not only of hearing loss, but also of heart disease, learning problems in children and sleep disturbance. Yet traffic noise could easily be halved, with existing technology, if more stringent limits were adopted.
Between 2005 and 2014 T&E worked at the EU and global levels for tighter restrictions on sources of transport noise including cars, lorries and trains. We continue to seek out opportunities to cut noise pollution.
Read more about Vehicle Noise
From 2014 to 2018, we campaigned to ensure trade deals like TTIP do not constrain Europe's power to legislate for the common good.
*This campaign is archived.
Read more about Better trade and regulation