The European Commission plans further steps to decarbonise the transport sector through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility, according to the latest draft of the Energy Union proposal, which will be officially presented later today.
The transport sector is responsible for a quarter of EU carbon emissions and consumes more than 30% of the EU’s total energy intake.
The use of alternative fuels like biodiesel, electricity, or liquefied natural gas, could increase the sector’s energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, the Commission believes.
According to the draft proposal, the Commission will take steps to encourage “a gradual transformation of the entire transport system”. It intends to promote the development of better infrastructures, such as refuelling and recharging stations, to help different modes of transport switch to using alternative fuels.
Legislation on “decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels” will be put forward by the Commission in 2017.
Other measures supporting the executive’s plans to move away from fossil fuels to a climate-friendly sector include road charging schemes based on the “user-pays” principle, emissions standards for cars and vans, and a revision of the taxation of heavy goods vehicles.
New legislative proposals are expected to be published throughout 2016 and 2017.
Transport and Environment, an environmental campaign group, welcomed “the Commission’s good intentions on cleaner cars and the electrification of transport”. It did, however, object to the fact that the Commission delayed the introduction of the CO2 standards for trucks and busses, saying it is a clear “concession to the lobbies”.
“And the persistent omission of aviation and shipping, the two fastest-growing sources of transport emissions in Europe, is not just bad in itself, it also sends the wrong message in the run-up to Paris,” said Jos Dings, Director of T&E.
Shifting to e-mobility
The draft Energy Union proposal makes electrification of the transport system an important requirement “to break oil dependency and to decarbonise transport”.
In January, a coalition of eight green NGOs sent a letter to 28 EU Commissioners asking “to plant the electrification of transport at the heart of the European Energy Union”. While no concrete proposal is planned on e-mobility as part of the Energy Union strategy, other transport laws could include provisions that would have a knock-on effect.
E-mobility also received the support of the EU energy ministers at their last meeting on 6 February. Many member states already provide subsidies and tax incentives to increase sales of electric cars.
The Energy Union proposal intends to reduce energy demand, integrate EU national markets, and ensure the security of Europe’s energy supplies.