Green Mobility Policy Briefing – April 29 2022

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: EU Commission’s Vision on Shipping Is Incompatible with Latest IPCC Recommendations on GHG Emissions Mitigation; The United States Announces Commitments at the Seventh Our Ocean Conference; Singapore and New Zealand Sign Sustainable Aviation Partnership; Britain Moves Ahead with Mandatory Climate Plans for Companies; and Princeton Study Criticises EU Biofuels Policy, Poses Challenges for Aviation and Maritime.

EU Commission’s Vision on Shipping Is Incompatible with Latest IPCC Recommendations on GHG Emissions Mitigation. As part of the FuelEU Maritime regulation, which targets a 75% decarbonisation of shipping by 2050, the EU Commission cites LNG as playing a crucial role in the shipping sector’s future. The regulation will potentially raise LNG’s share of all European marine fuels to one-fifth by 2030. Contradicting this, the latest IPCC report on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions suggests that LNG is inadequate to deliver the stringent decarbonisation urgently required. The FuelEU Maritime regulation sets a threshold for the carbon intensity of marine fuels, allowing compliance through the cheapest fuel mix option that meets the specified targets. This has attracted criticism from environmental groups, who argue that the inclusion of LNG in the legislation will slow down the adoption of truly zero-carbon fuels, whilst locking in reliance on gas. Concern has only intensified after Transport & Environment recently uncovered significant amounts of methane emissions from LNG-powered ships, throwing the Commission’s vision into disrepute. The IPCC instead urged deep revisions to the FuelEU Maritime regulation, recommending the promotion of hydrogen-based alternative fuels, proposing at least a 6% e-fuel mandate for 2030, whilst rapidly discontinuing the proportion of LNG employed in shipping. – By Sam Phelps.

The United States Announces Commitments at the Seventh Our Ocean Conference. The US announced in a press release more than 110 commitments worth nearly $2.64 billion.  These announcements include commitments on sustainable fisheries, shipping decarbonization, offshore renewable energy and more. All these commitments are keeping the 1.5°C goal within reach. By joining high-level panels for a sustainable ocean economy, the US is taking an active role in promoting green shipping corridors. Moreover, the Government intends to provide $500,000 to the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission. More money will be allocated to different topic areas and schemes aimed at reducing pollution and carbon emissions. – By Kloudia Sakowski

Aviation has become much more efficient over the past decades. However, the total number of flights flown has increased significantly as well. Learn more about the sector's climate impacts with Aviation and Climate Change, Economic Perspectives on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies Edited by Frank Fichert, Peter Forsyth, Hans-Martin Niemeier. (Click on the image for a link)

Singapore and New Zealand Sign Sustainable Aviation Partnership. Under the bi-lateral Memorandum of Arrangement (MOA), Singapore and New Zealand will work together to drive the development of a sustainable aviation ecosystem, in partnership with industry, academia and other stakeholder groups, as the global aviation sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release. Specifically, the Arrangement provides for four broad areas of cooperation: policy and regulation, including on subjects such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and airport electrification; industry development with regards to R&D and testing of SAF and hydrogen; future infrastructure planning and provision, including the decarbonisation of airport infrastructure, optimisation of aircraft routes, and a viability study on “green lanes” between the countries aimed at encouraging consumer uptake of SAF-run flights; and workforce transformation, including the creation of sustainable aviation jobs. Speaking to the press, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said “we cannot afford to return to business as usual, because that is unsustainable. We need to work with trusted partners like Singapore to ensure that environmental sustainability is a core part of our economic strategy.” The announcement follows significant investments and research in aviation decarbonisation by airlines in each country. Air New Zealand, for instance, has a published pathway to SAF and entered into partnerships with ATR and Airbus to develop zero-emissions electric and hydrogen aircraft, respectively, whilst Singapore Airlines has sought to reduce its fuel consumption through an array of operational measures such as introducing lightweight crockery and cargo containers. – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre.

Britain Moves Ahead with Mandatory Climate Plans for Companies. On Monday, the government revealed a new task force to write rules that make it mandatory for listed companies and financial firms to publish how they will mitigate climate risk. British finance minister Rishi Sunak asked companies to publish their plan to ensure Britain’s transition to a net-zero economy for 2050Not only will these measures mean that companies may find it harder to inflate their green credentials or ‘greenwash’, but companies will also be supported to ensure they have “investible and accountable” transition plans. With the task force aiming to make the UK the world’s first net-zero financial centre, the country spearheads the battle against business-induced climate change. During a Q1 trading update, UK listed National Express Group PLC Group’s Chief Executive, Ignacio Garat, touted the company’s ESG credentials stating that a “modal shift out of cars is the single most important thing we can do to tackle climate change – and National Express has a major role to play here, providing safe, reliable and affordable services that not only help our planet but also our passengers in their daily lives.” Other UK-based transport operators have followed suit, with Peter Knight, Managing Director at Stagecoach Bluebird, noting that “travelling by bus, when we can, is one of the easiest ways to address climate change through carbon reduction of our own journeys.” – By Georgia King

Princeton Study Criticises EU Biofuels Policy, Poses Challenges for Aviation and Maritime. A study published by two Princeton University researchers, and a researcher from the French Centre de coopération internationale en recherche (CIRAD) is highly critical of the EU’s land use, biodiversity, and biofuel polices. In particular, the authors find “that the European’s Commission’s “Fit for 55” plan as proposed, although it contains many other valuable climate requirements, would overall increase Europe’s land carbon footprint through multiple laws encouraging the use of bioenergy from energy crops and wood. European Commission modelling results imply less biodiversity both within and outside Europe, limited carbon sequestration gains within Europe, and more loss of forests and other habitats outside Europe.” To mitigate these negative outcomes, the researchers suggest, among other measures, that “by reasonably increasing crop yields and reducing biofuels to 2010 levels, Europe can simultaneously eliminate its global outsourcing and reduce its own cropland by 16.5 million hectares (~16% of cropland).” Although technically feasible, the reduction of biofuels to 2010 levels may pose unique challenges to hard to abate sectors, such as aviation and the maritime sectors, which largely rely on biofuels to reduce their share of emissions. – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre.

Chart Reference: 

H. Ritchie, “Our World In Data: Climate change and flying: what share of global CO2 emissions come from aviation?,” 2022 October 2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 29 April 2022].