Transport and the environment

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With a focus on urban transport, the 2013 Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) reflects on the efforts made by European cities to adapt in consideration of pollution, commuting times and other sustainability concerns. The report also provides an information assessment on transport related targets, and progress to achieve them, for the European Union.

This presentation summarises some of the main findings of the report concerning fuels. It was delivered by the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA), Hans Bruyninckx, at the 2nd Annual European Future Transport Conference (Clean Power for Transport - Prospects for alternative fuels in Europe).

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  • I welcome the opportunity to present the European Environment Agency’s views on transport and the environment within the context of today’s alternative fuels discussion. Policies and discussions related to transport play an integral part of the work carried out in the EEA.The EEA has produced its Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) report on a yearly basis since 2000.This year’s report, released today, has a strong focus on urban transport and reflects on the efforts made by various European cities to adapt in view of pollution, commuting times and other sustainability concerns.The report also provides an information assessment on transport related targets, and progress to achieve them, for the European Union. Most of the targets monitored were set by the European Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper.
  • As we have just entered the final month during this 2013 European “Year of Air”, I feel it is appropriate the air related issues highlighted within the TERM report are presented here. This is as regards the state of air quality, from transport activity, within Europe.This slide shows that up to a third of Europeans living in cities are exposed to air pollutant levels exceeding EU air quality standards. Around 90 % of Europeans living in cities are exposed to levels of air pollutants deemed damaging to health by the World Health Organization’s more stringent guidelines.I would like to highlight some other aspects of this complex relationship:Even though emissions of all transport air pollutants have significantly declined over the past two decades, the general trend for decreases in air pollutant emissions from transport appears to have stabilised between 2010 and 2011.As the 2013 EEA annual Air Quality Report stressed, air quality levels in cities are a fundamental issue for public health. In 2011, the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) annual limit value was exceeded at 42 % of the traffic stations, at 3 % of the urban background stations but only at one rural background station. The increasing number of diesel vehicles in some cities in Europe has led to stubborn concentrations of NO2 measured close to traffic in the period 2002–2011. Diesel vehicles generally emit more NO2 and PM then gasoline equivalents. Diesel has been boosted by EU Member State policies and lower diesel taxation.
  • This TERM 2013 report includes an assessment of progress towards the transport related emissions targets set out in the 2011 White Paper. A quick reminder of some of the key targets:Transport GHG (including international aviation, excluding international maritime shipping) – 60 % reduction by 2050 compared to 1990 levels;EU CO2 emissions of maritime bunker fuels – 40 % reduction by 2050 compared to 2005 levels;Target average type-approval emissions for new passenger cars - 95 g CO2/km by 2020.Overall GHG emissions, including aviation but excluding maritime shipping, have reduced only slightly by 0.6 % in 2011. The reduction has been limited partly because international aviation emissions rose by 2.6 %. Transport GHG emissions, as defined in the White Paper, remain 25 % above 1990 levels (this covers the EU27, excludes international maritime and includes international aviation).
  • The European Union has set a goal to reduce emissions of new cars to 95 g/km by 2020.Conclusions from the TERM report note that new passenger car CO2 emissions per kilometre have followed a continuing downward trend with a further 2.6 % reduction in 2012 compared to 2011 (now 132g CO2 / km). Policies in this area have had positive impacts on the CO2 emissions per kilometer from new passenger cars. Meanwhile the European Union's short term 2015 goal of 130 g/km may well be achieved ahead of time.
  • This downward trend in CO2 emissions comes in part from an increase in the uptake of alternative fuel types.Two of TERM’s key indicators focus on alternative fuels.One indicator looks at car registrations by fuel type within the EU-27. After significant growth from 2005 to 2009 for Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) vehicles a sharp drop occurred which has only recently begun to increase.This has been due to changes in economic incentives for schemes aiming to promote an uptake in such vehicles.Meanwhile for electric vehicles the actual number of such cars sold in some EU Member States is small despite an increase in the number of registrations has grown by 61 % in 2012. France leads the way in the EU-27 with 5 650 electric vehicles sold in 2012, followed by Germany with 2 809.Away from the EU-27, incentives encouraged Norwegians to purchase 4 000 electric vehicles in 2012.
  • Another TERM indicator to focus on alternatives fuels provides the share of renewable energy in the transport sector.10 % of the energy consumed in each EU Member State must be renewable by 2020. The average EU‑28 Member State’s share of renewable energy consumed in transport increased between 2010 and 2011 from 3.5 % to 3.8 %. The use of renewable electricity in road and rail transport keeps increasing, doubling and by 10 % respectively between 2010 and 2011, although road transport electricity consumed remains very low.
  • Our newly adopted multi-annual work programme provides focus on the transition to a green economy. Transitions we define as fundamental shifts in the systems that fulfil societal needs, through profound changes in dominant structures, practices, technologies, policies, lifestyles, and thinking.The transport sector already has targets for 2020 and for 2030 yet the Transport White Paper provides a vision for 2050. This vision needs to be fleshed out with concrete targets for 2050.These policies will need to focus on improving the knowledge base and the systems we use to measure environmental phenomena. Managing the transition to a green economy will mean policies that encourage the emergence of new technologies, new ways of thinking and new social practices. At the EEA in the coming years, we will be working to refine the knowledge base to help inform policy implementation and assess systemic challenges to 2050. Meanwhile, to the TERM report, we note that that reaching the targets set requires serious efforts. These would include: Having a range of alternative fuels in the market, including electricity, hydrogen biofuels, methane (compressed natural gas and biomethane) and Liquid Petroleum Gas. The availability of appropriate infrastructure, which should be in line with technology developments and market penetration rates of vehicles powered by alternative fuels.Appropriate support at the Member State and the broader EU level for increased uptake of alternative fuels. This could include fiscal incentives for consumers and provision of infrastructure. Labelling, allowing potential consumers to compare alternatively fuelled vehicles with conventional vehicles would also be important.It is necessary to have a coordinated approach, which integrates a whole range of policy measures, to achieve the desired results.Ultimately, in order to gain public support this must aim to address not just the environmental impacts of the transport system, but to create an improved quality of life for all European citizens.Urban transport accounts for a significant share of the environmental and social impacts of transport in Europe. Meeting the transport policy aims and goals set out in the White Paper will be dependent upon towns and cities across Europe following the example of those places that have already made good progress in tackling these issues. If this can be achieved, then it will lead to a better quality of life for all of Europe’s citizens.As the second part of the TERM report notes, a number of European cities have successfully improved the urban environment through a transformation of their transport options.
  • Transport and the environment

    1. 1. Transport and the environment The speech that accompanies this presentation can be viewed in the slide notes below Dr. Hans Bruyninckx Executive Director, European Environment Agency (EEA) Brussels, 3 December 2013
    2. 2. The TERM report 2013
    3. 3. Exposure to harmful levels of air pollution in the EU
    4. 4. EU-28 transport emissions of GHGs Source: EEA, 2013.
    5. 5. Average emissions (g CO2/km, EU-27) for new cars Source: EEA, 2013.
    6. 6. Alternative fuel vehicles
    7. 7. Share of renewable energy in the transport sector
    8. 8. Reaching the targets SUSTAINABILITY 10 % renewable share Transport GHG -20% New cars –95 CO2/km Conventional fuel car -50 % 2020/2030 2050 White Paper vision: Transport GHG -60% Conventional fuel car -100 % New cars –130 CO2/km 2015/2017 TIME 2015-2017: specific targets. 2020/2030: comprehensive policies or specific targets. 2050: long term vision.
    9. 9. Thank you More on the 2013 Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) report is available here. eea.europa.eu

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