Fit for 55: Zero CO2 for New Cars & Vans; More Bikes for a Green Transition: GMPB

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief:  Fit for 55: zero CO2 emissions for new cars and vans in 2035; MEPs say cycling will help the EU’s green transition; 30+ big businesses demand the EU to electrify all fleet vehicles by 2030; EU defines ‘green’ hydrogen.

Fit for 55: zero CO2 emissions for new cars and vans in 2035. Earlier this month, it was announced the ambitious reduction targets for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles has been approved. The European Press Room stated that the new legislation has set new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles on a path towards carbon neutrality with a target reduction in C02 emissions by 100% for 2035. According to the European Council, this in practice means that no cars or vans “with an internal combustion engine” can be placed on the market within the EU. Jozef Síkela, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, stated that “this agreement will pave the way for the modern and competitive automotive industry in the EU” and as claimed by the European Press Room, it is expected that the current zero-and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV) incentive mechanism will be adapted, in order to meet the increasing demand and sale trends. The European Commission will present a methodology to assess the newly tightened CO2 emission standards, with a published report every two years from 2025, evaluating the progress towards net-zero road mobility. – Hannah Santry

MEPs say cycling will help the EU’s green transition. The members of the European Parliament released a press release on Thursday, February 16, aiming to improve the European Union‘s green transition by developing a cycling strategy. Cycling utilizes minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free form of transport. It does not release any carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change therefore, the strategy will benefit the environment by reducing air pollution, noise pollution, traffic congestion and developing better health for individuals. The EP rapporteur and TRAN chair, Karima Delli, said: “The European Parliament is taking a historic first step in unlocking cycling’s potential in Europe with benefits for health, climate and jobs. The cycling ecosystem represents one million jobs in Europe and has the potential to reach two million by 2030.” The strategy will be fulfilled by building and improving more dedicated cycling lanes, parking spaces for bikes and reducing VAT. This will assist MEPs target to double the number of kilometres cycled in Europe by 2030. –  Shantelle Gondo  

30+ big businesses demand the EU to electrify all fleet vehicles by 2030. In an open letter to the European Commission, signed by a plethora of multinational corporations, including Uber, Ikea and Coca-Cola, joined forces to urge that all fleets should be electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. In the letter, they suggest that 60% of cars sold in Europe are company cars and generally most fleets go to the second-hand market after 3-5 years. As well as the clear benefits of cutting road emissions and creating a second-hand market for EVs, fully electrified fleets would mean the EU can decrease their reliance on Russian oil imports. Following this, these businesses are also calling for the EU to extend their horizon to heavy commercial vehicles, aiming for these to be zero emission by 2035. Stef Cornelis, Director of Electric Fleets at T&E, has backed this sentiment, claiming that “for too long, corporate cars have not been on Europe’s agenda. This has to change.”Zoe Picton

The EU defines ‘green’ hydrogen. New announcements from the European Commission saw a favourable stance towards green hydrogen; this has been supported by the Transport & Environment Group (T&E). However, T&E questions relaxation decisions on green hydrogen production because this allows projects starting before 2028 to use electricity produced from coal and gas. Hydrogen produced from low-carbon electrical grids using nuclear electricity was classed as ‘renewable’ by the Commission during the news. Geert Decock, the Electricity and Energy Manager at T&E said “The EU has provided clarity on what makes hydrogen green or not. This will kickstart investments in hydrogen and e-fuels, which are crucial for decarbonising our ships, planes and heavy industry.” After 2028, hydrogen projects should add additional renewables to the local grid to match demand. This is to stop renewables from being diverted from the grid, and not to affect local energy bills. T&E believes that the European Parliament and the EU Council must implement these delegated acts on Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBO) and are cautious that this outcome should not defend hydrogen usage for all energy issues. – Tia Fishlock

Photo by Sergio García on Unsplash