Towards low-emission EU mobility

21-03-2017

While EU transport systems provide the mobility European society needs, they also create severe environmental pressures and are responsible for a quarter of EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Transport activity is expected to grow still further and become the largest source of EU GHG emissions after 2030. Meanwhile, the EU has joined global efforts to limit climate change and pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions significantly. In line with this commitment, it has set out to transform itself into a low-carbon economy. This implies a systemic change towards low-emission mobility, which in turn requires modern and clean transport without compromising European mobility and competitiveness. The European Commission has put forward a comprehensive strategy for low-emission mobility to accelerate the transformation, focusing on three main areas. Firstly, it seeks to improve transport-system efficiency by employing digital technologies, smart road charging and promoting multimodality. Secondly, it encourages the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport, such as electricity and advanced biofuels. And thirdly, it outlines measures for moving towards zero-emission vehicles. In addition, several horizontal initiatives seek to provide coherence between transport and other policy areas and create an environment enabling new digital technologies, research and innovation, energy, investment, and skills. While reactions to the strategy have mainly been positive, stakeholders also stressed the need for a technology-neutral approach, taking the whole emission cycle and the need for a level playing field between transport modes into account.

While EU transport systems provide the mobility European society needs, they also create severe environmental pressures and are responsible for a quarter of EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Transport activity is expected to grow still further and become the largest source of EU GHG emissions after 2030. Meanwhile, the EU has joined global efforts to limit climate change and pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions significantly. In line with this commitment, it has set out to transform itself into a low-carbon economy. This implies a systemic change towards low-emission mobility, which in turn requires modern and clean transport without compromising European mobility and competitiveness. The European Commission has put forward a comprehensive strategy for low-emission mobility to accelerate the transformation, focusing on three main areas. Firstly, it seeks to improve transport-system efficiency by employing digital technologies, smart road charging and promoting multimodality. Secondly, it encourages the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport, such as electricity and advanced biofuels. And thirdly, it outlines measures for moving towards zero-emission vehicles. In addition, several horizontal initiatives seek to provide coherence between transport and other policy areas and create an environment enabling new digital technologies, research and innovation, energy, investment, and skills. While reactions to the strategy have mainly been positive, stakeholders also stressed the need for a technology-neutral approach, taking the whole emission cycle and the need for a level playing field between transport modes into account.