Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: The US Department of Transportation announces 7 billion USD in funding to build resilient infrastructure; T&E suggests that EU supply of electric buses will fail to meet demand unless regulators intervene; Boeing set to lead net-zero targets by opening a new Research and Development Centre in Japan.
The US Department of Transportation announces 7 billion USD in funding to build resilient infrastructure. On the 29th of July, the US DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a package of measures including 7.3 billion dollars in formula funding and updated guidance aimed at helping states and communities prepare for, and respond to, extreme weather events. The Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program will be made available over a period of five years to states and communities across the United States. According to the DOT, projects eligible for PROTECT funding will include highway and public transport projects, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and port facilities. Projects which can help facilitate emergency evacuations from areas devastated by natural disasters and extreme weather events will also be eligible for funding. The announcement comes as the US and many other parts of the world are struggling with severe weather. Indeed, the US National Interagency Fire Center reports that more fires have already been declared in 2022 than all of 2021, and more acres of land have been lost to fire in 2022 than in 2020 and 2021 combined. “In every part of the country, climate change is impacting roads, bridges, and rail lines that Americans rely on–endangering homes, lives and livelihoods in the process,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re launching this unprecedented effort to help communities protect their transportation infrastructure from extreme weather and improve routes that first responders and firefighters need during disasters.” – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre.
T&E suggests that EU supply of electric buses will fail to meet demand unless regulators intervene. According to Transport and Environment’s Manager for Freight, James Nix, the demand for electric buses is skyrocketing as cities and transport operators seek to decarbonise their fleets, decrease local air pollution, and achieve local, national, and European decarbonisation objectives. Indeed, in the Netherlands, for instance, all new urban buses registered within the country are either electric or hydrogen-powered, whilst a handful of countries such as Finland, Bulgaria, and Denmark, have seen zero emissions buses account for more than 70% of all new bus registrations. Whilst the uptake of zero emissions buses is widely considered positive, some believe that at current growth levels, European cities will seek 100% zero emissions buses by 2026, far earlier than what most manufacturers are planning. Indeed, the two leading European manufacturers Daimler and MAN have pledged that all their bus offerings will be zero emissions by 2030. Whilst liberal economists may suggest that market actors will naturally seek to fill demand, T&E is advocating for the European Commission to introduce a 100% sales target for zero emissions urban buses in 2027 as part of the Commission’s forthcoming proposal to cut emissions from both new buses and trucks, which is due out on November 30th. – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre
Boeing set to lead net-zero targets by opening a new Research and Development Centre in Japan. Announced at the start of this month, the centre forms a part of the company’s efforts to further demonstrate its commitment to the innovation of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), hydrogen and electric technologies, composite manufacturing, and other future flight concepts. The initiative will be carried out in partnership with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), with whom Boeing has agreed to an expansion of their 2019 ‘Cooperation Agreement’ to include more challenging targets for sustainability and urban mobility. Boeing has also committed to develop more SAFs in Japan by becoming the latest member of ‘ACT FOR SKY’, an organisation of 16 aviation companies in Japan which seeks to promote and commercialise Japanese-produced SAF. The move comes at a time of post-pandemic prosperity for Japanese aviation as the country’s largest airline group holding company, ‘All Nippon Airways’, also a signatory of ‘ACT FOR SKY’, recorded a return to profitability in the first fiscal quarter of 2022. Boeing maintains that both economic opportunity and climate goals are central to their plans here, with Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond arguing that achieving net-zero is essential to “ensure the benefits of aviation remain available for generations to come”. Boeing’s investment in Japan comes as more governments are seeking to introduce SAF mandates, such as the EU, which is set to ratify the goal of 5% use of SAF in European airports by 2030 into a European Climate Law later this year. – By Ollie Jenkins.