Monitoring progress of Europe’s transport sector towards its environment, health and climate objectives

Publication Created 05 Dec 2017 Published 05 Dec 2017
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The ‘Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism’ (TERM) includes a number of indicators used for tracking the short and long-term environmental performance of the transport sector in the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU-28). This briefing presents the latest indicator-based assessment of progress being made towards key transport-related policy targets and objectives.

Monitoring progress of Europe’s transport sector towards its environment, health and climate objectives

Publication Created 05 Dec 2017 Published 05 Dec 2017
The ‘Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism’ (TERM) includes a number of indicators used for tracking the short and long-term environmental performance of the transport sector in the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU-28). This briefing presents the latest indicator-based assessment of progress being made towards key transport-related policy targets and objectives.

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Use of renewable fuels in transport Use of renewable fuels in transport The proportion of renewable energy to total energy used by the transport sector is growing but remains small. Across the EU-28, the average share of renewable energy used in transport (RES-T) was 6.7 % in 2015 . These figures include only those biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria of the European Union’s (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED). All EU Member States are required to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020, for all transport options. The progress of individual Member States’ towards this target varies, with most needing to increase significantly renewable energy use to get there. Initially, the EU supported biofuels as a way to help mitigate climate change, but time and research has shown that making fuels out of crops has led to deforestation and increased stress on land resources, as well as potentially inflating food prices. As such, a 7 % cap on the amount of biofuels made from crops has been proposed. Next generation biofuels made from waste or algae may not raise the same problems but will require large investments to achieve large scale production. In 2011, EUROSTAT published the first data on the share of biofuels in transport energy   that meet the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive (Art. 17 & Art. 18, 2009/28/EC). In 2011, 4 % of the energy consumed in transport was renewable, most of it from biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria. Most Member States require significant further increases in order to reach the Directive’s target of a 10 % share of renewable energy in transport by 2020.
Emissions of air pollutants from transport Emissions of air pollutants from transport Between 1990 and 2015, the transport sector significantly reduced emissions of certain air pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) (both by around 85%), sulphur oxides (SO x ) (49 %), nitrogen oxides (NO x ) (41 %). Since, 2000 a reduction in particulate matter emissions (42 % for PM 2.5  and 35 % for PM 10 ) has occurred. Emission reductions from road transport have been lower than originally anticipated over the last two decades. This is partly because transport has grown more than expected and, for certain pollutants, partly owing to the larger than expected growth in diesel vehicles, which produce higher NO x and PM emissions than petrol-fuelled vehicles. Furthermore, it is widely accepted that 'real-world emissions' of NO x , particularly from diesel passenger cars and vans, generally exceed the permitted European emission (Euro) standards, which define the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in the EU Member States. Emissions of all pollutants decreased in 2015 compared with the previous year. NO x  emissions decreased by 1 %, SO x  by 12 %, and PM 10  and PM 2.5  by 4 % and 5 %, respectively. The latest data show that non-exhaust emissions of primary PM 10  and PM 2.5 , such as from tyre- and brake-wear, make up 55 % and 37 % of total transport emissions of these pollutants, respectively.  All transport modes have reduced their emissions since 1990, except for international aviation and shipping for which CO, NO x and  SO x  emissions of each pollutant have increased.

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