11 March 2008

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector in the EU-27 have risen by 26% from 1990 to 2005, according to a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Had transport sector emissions followed the same reduction trend as in society as a whole, total EU-27 GHG emissions would have fallen by 14% instead of 7.9% during the period 1990-2005.

The current focus on vehicle and fuel technologies as a mechanism to reduce transport GHG emissions is insufficient to offset the steady increase in passenger volumes and growth in freight transport, concludes the report. Voluntary commitments by car manufacturers to improve efficiency in vehicles have not resulted in sufficient gains. In addition, the occupancy rates of private vehicles have gradually been going down. Approximately 12% of the overall EU emissions of CO2 come from fuel burnt by passenger cars.

Reduction of GHG emissions from transport would require addressing the transport demand through a number of measures and policy instruments that go beyond the transport sector itself and be introduced into sectors of the economy such as households, industry and service, within which the demand for transport actually originates. Achieving targets in line with the “Bali roadmap” would require that transport volume growth is limited to between +4% and -2% over the period 2010-2020, compared to a growth of 15% in a business-as-usual scenario.

The report, “Climate for a transport change”, is the annual publication from the EEA’s Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM).

Source: European Environment Agency