Transport emissions: European Parliament in favour of single calculation method  

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  • EU system to compare carbon footprint of various transport modes 
  • Steps to integrate life-cycle emissions in the future 
  • Free of charge public simplified GHG emissions calculation tool for SMEs 

On Wednesday, MEPs voted to prevent greenwashing in the transport sector by adopting a single EU methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently the EU does not have a unified system to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector and companies use different ways to calculate their carbon footprint. This may mislead consumers choosing transport services based on their environmental performance and create conditions for greenwashing, which MEPs want to prevent.


Single GHG emissions calculation method


MEPs support the basic principle of new rules to count GHG emissions stemming from the use of a vehicle. However they want to broaden its application and ask the Commission to table, within two years from the entry into force of these new rules, a new methodology, which would calculate the GHG emissions coming from producing, using, maintaining and disposing vehicles, i.e. its life-cycle.


The new rules will not oblige transport companies to calculate their GHG emissions, but if they choose to do it for reporting or marketing purposes, they should follow the provided methodology. In case after repeated notifications the company refuses to correct the calculation or remedy non-compliance, it should face a proportionate and dissuasive penalty, MEPs add.


Output data


The rules also set the common metrics that would represent GHG emissions and allow to easily compare it. For freight transport that would be CO2 emitted per tonne kilometre, for passenger transport - CO2 emitted per passenger kilometre. MEPs insist that his data should be disclosed in a clear and unambiguous manner and be substantiating by evidence available in a weblink or QR code.


Support for SMEs


In order to reduce the administrative and financial burden on companies wishing to calculate their emissions, in particular for small and medium companies (SMEs), MEPs ask the Commission to develop a free of charge public simplified calculation tool. They also want an access to European GHG emissions calculation standard be free of charge and suggest Member States to introduce financial incentives to stimulate the use of direct measurements of GHG emissions instead of estimates or default values.


Quotes


EP rapporteur Pascal Canfin (Renew, FR) said: “New rules will incentivise more transparency of GHG emissions in the transport sector. It will help consumers and businesses to make informed choices when it comes to transport options, therefore accelerating the decarbonisation of the sector.”


EP rapporteur Barbara Thaler (EPP, AT) stressed: "The regulation is a step in the right direction. For the first time battery electric vehicles are not magically "zero-emission". However, the production and recycling of a vehicle was omitted, therefore the regulation still gives an unfair advantage to battery electric vehicles produced outside Europe. Without addressing the elephant in the room, the EPP cannot support this regulation."


Next steps


The draft rules on accounting of greenhouse gas emissions of transport services were adopted by 349 votes in favour, 243 votes against and 12 abstentions, constituting Parliament’s position at first reading. The file will be followed up by the new Parliament after the European elections on 6-9 June.