T&E: ‘Transport sector will account for half of Europe’s CO2 emissions in 2030’

Since its peak in 2007, the transport sector has decarbonized three times slower than the rest of the economy, and emissions continue to grow. European transport emissions have increased by over a quarter since 1990, while emissions across the wider economy are declining.

A new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that transport alone will account for nearly half of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2030. Without additional measures, Europe will fail to reach net zero emissions in 2050. “Decarbonising the sector as quickly as possible is now vital if the continent is to reach net zero by 2050,” William Todts, Executive of T&E, said.

Emissions reduction

Cars burning gasoline and diesel are the overwhelming source of transport emissions, accounting for more than 40%. Only recently have we seen a reduction in average car emissions as a wave of electric vehicles has come onto the market.

Aviation emissions have doubled in the past 30 years – faster than any other transport sector. The additional impact of aviation emissions from contrails potentially triples the climate impact of flying.

Shipping operators have little incentive to increase their operational efficiency. However, in July 2023, the international shipping industry (175 countries) signed an agreement to reduce emissions from cargo ships. The sector, which accounts for almost 3% of global CO2 emissions, aims to cut polluting emissions by at least 20% by 2030 to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions step by step by or around 2050.

Additional efforts

T&E’s analysis highlights that in addition to implementing key Green Deal policies, additional efforts will be needed to decarbonize the sector. These include electrifying road transport (which is two times more efficient than hydrogen power and four times more efficient than using e-fuels), preventing new and ever-growing demand for transport, and setting ambitious and binding electric vehicle sales targets for companies that own large fleets of vehicles.

According to Todts, cars, vans, and trucks can cheaply be electrified with batteries and renewables. Planes and ships, on the other hand, pose a tougher challenge. “However, ending road and airport expansion will make the decarbonization job much easier,” he concludes.


Ready to join the conversation?

You must be an active subscriber to leave a comment.

Subscribe Today

You Might Also Like