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Overall EU GHG Emissions At Lowest Levels Since 1990 ― But Not Transport

06.15.16 | Blog | By:

Somewhat obscured in EEA’s annual inventory of GHGs is a little statement about transport emissions, which are increasing in Europe: “Not all sectors were able to reduce emissions. Road transport, responsible for the largest increase in CO2 emissions, grew by 124 Mt from 1990-2014, and 7 Mt from 2013-14.” According to The Guardian, which picked up the story, this represents a 17% increase though overall GHG emissions declined 24% over the time period.

Consider that transport is expected to deliver a “large chunk” of the EU’s 40% emissions reduction pledge as part of the COP-21 Paris agreement. Incidentally, aviation and marine emissions increased as well by 82% (a statistic that was noted by The Guardian, but not EEA).

In the article, ACEA (the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) acknowledged the increase, attributing it to rise in transport demand. The following charts just released this week from Fuels Europe seem to confirm this point:


Despite a recent comment from Volkswagen about the nearing end of diesel, the figures suggest it will be a major challenge to wean Europeans off of conventional fuels, including (and especially) diesel. ACEA noted in the article: “What this shows is that the challenge cannot be adequately addressed by solely focusing on reducing emissions from new vehicles, given that they only make up 5% of Europe’s fleet.”

ACEA said it was time to look at how existing vehicles are used, including the “carbon content of fuels, driver behavior, infrastructure, as well as the potential of car connectivity and intelligent transport systems (ITS).” The reference to “carbon content” makes me wonder whether a California-style low carbon fuels standard (LCFS) is on the way.

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