EU Transport Emissions Will Not Fall Below 1990 Levels Until 2029: GMBP

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: CO2 Emissions from transport have risen by 24% in the last 30 years, says the European Environment Agency; UK Autumn statement: Government sends wrong signals on car taxation; Co-legislators fail to include maritime in the ETS, but deal in reach says Rapporteur; EU to turn to ETS & CBAM for revenue.

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CO2 emissions from transport have risen by 24% in the last 30 years, says the European Environment Agency. Data published on November 11th   details how EU carbon emissions saw a significant decrease in many sectors, but a notable rise in the transport sector as emissions have risen 5-10% year-on-year and were 24% higher in 2019 compared to 1990 levels. Road transportation accounts for a staggering 77% of all EU transport emissions, according to EEA data. A breakdown of EU Members’ average transport emissions based on 2020 EEA data found that Luxembourg had the highest CO2 per capita, with 7,355 kg, whilst Romania had the lowest with 925 kg per capita. The EU 27 average sat at 1,545kg of CO2 per capita. The results may not be surprising as Luxembourg is also the EU country with the highest car ownership, at 681 cars per 1,000 people. Luxembourgish authorities have introduced measures to reduce emissions such as free public transport, including a 2022 cross-border transport system, reaching neighbouring France. However, despite efforts from member states, the EEA suggests that domestic transport emissions in the EU will not drop below their 1990 level until 2029, and aviation and maritime transport emissions are projected to continue increasing.– Charlotte Goldstone 

UK autumn statement: Government sends wrong signals on car taxation. EVs (electric vehicles) will now pay the same Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) as internal combustion engine vehicles from 2025, according to the newly released government autumn statement. Ralph Palmer, electric fleets lead at T&E (Transport and Environment), has backed the largely negative reaction against the lack of coinciding polluting car taxation, stating that “introducing a new tax on EVs, but no new levies on polluting vehicles, is just plain wrong”. Palmer calls for increased taxation on polluting cars to accompany the heavy taxes on EVs, warning that a widened tax gap between the two may hinder the UK’s progress towards net-zero. Nonetheless, the government has promised that rising benefit-in-kind (BIK) rates will now be controlled by a 1% cap from 2025 onwards, meaning the strong incentive for EVs to in-work drivers can continue to drive the UK’s switch to electric. These rates have a projected rise to 5% by 2028, so the news of a tax cap bears positively for the progression of EVs. Palmer agrees that the current BIK rates were not feasible to continue but maintains that “the Treasury should have introduced bigger increases across the board”. – Josie Waddington

Co-legislators fail to include maritime in the ETS, but deal in reach says Rapporteur. The European Parliament and Council have failed to agree on including the maritime sector into the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) during the fourth Trialogue negotiations undertaken on the 22nd of November. However, Dr. Peter Liese, MEP and EP Rapporteur has noted that “a final agreement on including maritime in the EU ETS is in reach if all sides show good will.” Indeed, the Parliament has proposed that the EU ETS should cover CO2 emissions from maritime transport, and that any allowances should be phased out between 2023 and 2024. Unfortunately, whilst co-legislators have not been able to find an agreement on when to fully include the sector in the ETS, and how to allocate revenues, progress has been made on the inclusion of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, such as methane and NO2, which are particularly prevalent in the maritime industry. “I am sure that with a little bit of good will, the deal will be ready next week and one big part of the ETS is already solved before we enter the final stage. It would be a very important signal after the unsatisfactory outcome of the COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh that Europe continues its ambitious climate agenda”, added Liese – Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre

EU to turn to ETS & CBAM for revenue. On Wednesday Members of the European Parliament voted 440 for, 111 against, and 77 abstentions, to pave the way for the EU to use revenues from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to fund the EU’s general budget. Hitherto, ETS revenues have gone directly to national governments. Speaking about the development, Valérie Hayer (RENEW, FR), co-rapporteur said “the European institutions have made a commitment to European citizens that the debt incurred by NextGenerationEU will not be repaid by raising taxes or cutting EU programmes, but by creating new own resources.” The move comes as part of the NextGenerationEU project, and the amendments must be approved by the Council to take effect. – Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre