The Guardian just keeps the good environmental news coming. Any initiative to reduce carbon emissions is helpful, and to have big companies with clout promote such a goal is admirable and a good sign of cooperation to come. Arthur Nelsen reports:
An alliance of companies including Ikea, Nestle and Heathrow airport have called on the EU to pass new laws cutting truck emissions within two years, to meet promises made at the Paris climate conference.
Heavy duty vehicles make up less than 5% of Europe’s road traffic but chug out a quarter of the sector’s carbon emissions – more than airplanes – and their fuel efficiency has hardly changed in two decades.
The EU’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete has said that fuel efficiency targets for vehicles after 2020 are “essential” and a commission paper in July is expected to signal that they will be brought forward.
In a letter to the EU president Jean-Claude Juncker, seen by the Guardian, the clean corporate alliance says that CO2 test procedures and emissions monitoring alone will not kickstart the market for low carbon freight transport.
“Meeting the EU’s 2030 climate targets as well as the more challenging targets agreed in Paris, will require major efforts in the transport and road freight sector,” the letter says. “We therefore call on you to propose post-2020 standards that reduce the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new trucks and trailers.”
The missive, which is also signed by DHL, Philips, Kingfisher and Schenker urges the EU “to make a proposal to introduce [fuel economy] standards within the next two years.”
Road transport accounts for around a fifth of Europe’s greenhouse gases and Europe is unlikely to meet its Paris pledge of a 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2030 without curbing them.
CO2 pollution from heavy duty vehicles rose 36% between 1990 and 2010 due to increased freight traffic. No fall is expected before 2050, without new regulations.
Bart Vandewaetere, Nestle’s assistant vice president told the Guardian: “Increasing fuel efficiency of trucks will give the transport industry the required boost to further reduce overall CO2 emissions after 2020, when most of the other options have been fully exploited.”
Nestle has pledged to cut its own fuel consumption and emissions by 10% above statutory commitments in the next four years, compared to 2014 levels.
The EU views mandatory CO2 per km targets as “the most apparent option” to curb greenhouse gas emissions from trucks but modern infrastructure, alternative fuels, taxes and road pricing could also play a part.
The car industry has proposed several alternative measures to mandatory post-2020 targets, arguing that they are already being stretched to the limit by current standards.
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