Following the Paris Agreement the world has committed to move towards a low-carbon economy. Many countries are now implementing policies to facilitate transition to cleaner economies. The European Commission first presented its proposals for implementing the Paris Agreement in a Communication in March 2016, followed by A European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility in June 2016. The European Commission then formulated different pathways to attain the objectives of the Paris Agreement in the Communication “A Clean Planet for all - A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy”, recommending to aim for a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. In the Green Deal Communication, the Commission then formulated the building blocks to set the EU economy firmly on the path towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In relation to transport, the Green Deal sets an ambitious target: by 2050, transport emissions will have to be reduced by 90 percent, compared to 1990.
Currently, transport represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities. CO2 emissions from transport have been consistently increasing over the past years, in stark contrast with the trend in other sectors such as electricity generation.
But also other pollutant emissions from transport need to be drastically reduced without delay. Emissions of air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, NOx and particulate matter, are the most significant causes of premature deaths in the EU, with estimates of more than 400,000 premature deaths each year, including 76,000 directly linked to nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
Changing the fuel base to low- and zero-emission alternative fuels is one important element of this overall transition. Some of these alternative fuels require the roll-out of new infrastructure for refuelling and recharging.