Eurostat figures for climate change have been released for the decade 1999-2008 showing a decline of 2.4 % of total EU GHG emissions. Hiding in this data is the continuing rise of emissions by the transport sector, by 5% over the same period, apparently explained by increasing transport volumes and the lack of significant shift towards cleaner modes and fuels. GHG emissions for transport grew from 916 to 962 million tonnes CO2-equivalent. NGV Global statistics for the same decade for Europe showed an annual average growth rate of 12% for natural gas vehicles (all types). With NGVs offering significant reductions in GHGs increasing this rate has the potential to counter the rise in transport emissions, particularly as “Demographic projections and economic structures make it likely that the demand for transport – and thus its volume – will continue to grow in the coming decades.”
While not the single biggest contributor by volume, the transport sector displayed the largest percentage sector growth of all emissions sources. By IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) sector, emissions increased at their fastest pace – within the confines of Kyoto reporting (road freight and passenger cars).
In 2008 the sector contributed 19.5% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2008.
Besides GHG emissions, transport is also responsible for other negative externalities, e.g. air pollution, particulate matters and noise. The effects of transport infrastructure on the nature, landscape and biodiversity are also adverse. At the same time transport is essential for society and for individuals.
NGVA Europe Comments
Matthias Maedge, EU Affairs Manager in Brussels, says the decarbonisation of road transport will be a major challenge considering that it represents 80% of the energy used by all transport modes. He says NGVA Europe is working with the European Union (EU) to develop an integrated approach covering not only vehicles performance but also fuel quality and overall transport efficiency. Natural gas and biomethane can make substantial contributions to achieve the 2020 targets of the Fuel Quality Directive (10% GHG emission savings) and the Biofuels Directive (10% RES in transport) and additional targets in relation to the Transport 2050 strategy adopted by the European Commission in March this year.
The Eurostat statistics may provide the stimulus for robust debate and strengthened resolve at the forthcoming NGV 2011 Berlin – Second NGVA Europe International Show and Workshops, from June 7-9.
Eurostat articles : Climate Change Statistics — available here; Climate Change – Driving Forces — available here.
This item primarily compiled using information from the above-mentioned articles.