MEPs Want Car Charging Stations Every 60km & Seek Sustainable Maritime Fuel Targets: GMPB

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: MEPs want car charging stations every 60km; vote on sustainable maritime fuel targets; US state-owned rail service Amtrak commits to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045; Public in favour of pay-as-you-drive scheme- Study; UK Transport Secretary announces the third round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition; UK Transport Secretary speaks at the 193-member ICAO Assembly. 

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MEPs want car charging stations every 60km; vote on sustainable maritime fuel targets . On Monday the 3rd of October, the European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee adopted a draft negotiating mandate with regards to alternative fuel infrastructure. As part of this negotiating mandate, which was passed (36 for, 2 against, 6 abstentions), MEPs believe that electric car recharging stations should be deployed at least every 60km along main EU roads by 2026. According to the adopted texts, recharging points for electric trucks and HGVs should also feature every 60km, but only on core TEN-T networks. In a move which will pit the Parliament against the Commission, MEPs suggest that hydrogen filling stations should feature at every 100km on main EU roads, as opposed to every 150km, and that targets should be accelerated by three years. The same evening, MEPs also voted on a draft negotiating mandate on sustainable maritime fuels (36 for, 6 against, 2 abstentions). Under the FuelEU Maritime legislative proposal, MEPs seek to reduce emissions from the maritime sector by 2% as of 2025, 20% as of 2035 and 80% as of 2050. In order to achieve these objectives, MEPs set a 2% target for renewable fuels usage, Moreover, MEPS demand containerships and passenger ships to use on-shore power supply while at berth at main EU ports as of 2030. In cases of non-compliance, the Committee supports financial penalties. Speaking about the draft negotiating position, EP rapporteur on sustainable maritime fuels Jörgen Warborn (EPP, SE) noted that “ This agreement strikes the balance between ensuring that our climate targets are met efficiently, while safeguarding the maritime sector’s competitiveness and shielding industries and families from rising prices.” The Committee on Transport and Tourism will now put the draft negotiating positions in front of the European Parliament at the October II plenary – Thomas Jérémie Hayden-Lefebvre 

US state-owned rail service Amtrak commits to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. According to a news release, Amtrak’s goals of increasing energy efficiency across the company’s operations and reducing diesel consumption in favour of renewable fuels will be aided by industry-leading research in fuel-cells, hydrogen, and batteries. Moreover, the company has set itself a target of achieving net zero emissions by 2045. This announcement follows Amtrak’s ongoing efforts and strategies to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions 40% by 2030, as set out in the company’s FY21 Sustainability Report, including an interim goal for carbon-free electricity usage by 2030 through renewable energy generation and power purchase agreements. Over the past ten years, Amtrak has reduced its GHG emissions by 414,054 MTCO2e, equivalent to 90,048 passenger vehicles driven for one year. The importance of rail transport as a sustainable alternative to high-carbon emission travel like private passenger cars, and flights is reflected in $22 billion in federal government funding for capital projects allocated to Amtrak through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, allowing for the public company to invest in a new sustainable fleet and targeted efforts to invest in research and innovation for greener travel – Jessica Atkinson

Public in favour of pay-as-you-drive scheme.  Nearly half (49%) of the public would support a pay-as-you-drive scheme, replacing fuel duty and vehicle excise duty (VED), a new report from Campaign for Better Transport suggests. Even though governments were adamant that the scheme would be unpopular with motorists, less than a fifth (18%) of the public opposed the idea and 3 in 5 (60%) think vehicle taxation needs reforming. A pay-as-you-drive scheme would encourage road users to drive less, in-turn reducing carbon emissions. The primary motivation for a pay-as-you-drive scheme is to reduce congestion and pollution, helping to meet net-zero targets. However, the increasing uptake of electric vehicles affects vehicle taxation revenue. The main form of vehicle taxation in the UK is hidden within fuel prices, bringing in approximately £28 billion per year. VED, more commonly known as car tax and based on emissions, raises another £7 billion, both funding public services as part of general taxation. Users of electric vehicles do not use conventional fuel or produce the same emissions, therefore not paying either tax. Hence, as zero-emission vehicle penetration increases, vehicle taxation revenues may decline. The RAC Foundation estimates that by 2028-2033, total UK fuel duty will have fallen by £5 billion, causing severe concerns for the public coffers and potentially leading to increased general taxation, such as income taxes, or a reduction in public service funds. Conversely, a pay-as-you drive scheme could help alleviate long term public finance concerns – Bethan Alderson

UK Transport Secretary announces the third round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, pledging £60 million to projects promoting clean maritime technologies. On World Maritime Day (29th September), Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan announced the third round of funding under the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. The competition is organised by the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) in partnership with Innovate UK. Running from April 2023 to March 2025, the government is committing £60 million to the scheme to be shared between innovative businesses and scientists in the UK to fund projects that develop strategies for clean maritime solutions. In 2020, UK domestic maritime vessels contributed 5% of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a figure that totals more than the combined GHG emissions of trains and buses in the UK. Mike Biddle, the Innovate UK Executive Director for Net Zero, has stated the importance of the UK maritime sector adapting to clean technologies to reduce emissions in line with the government’s 2050 net-zero goals, especially owing to 95% of trade running through major ports in the UK. The scheme is prioritising projects focusing on developing research and technology into domestic green shipping corridors, whilst also allowing scope for projects focusing on low and zero-emission vessel technologies, and port and shoreside solutions. – Jessica Atkinson

UK Transport Secretary speaks at the 193-member ICAO Assembly. Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyn spoke at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly in Montreal last Wednesday about aviation and its “important role to play in tackling climate change”. The ICAO is a 193-nation UN agency hosting its triennial nine-day conference in Montreal over the last week. The organisation was urged by the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition, to “deliver ambitious action ” and to “promoting the use of new fuels and technologies to tackle aviation’s contribution to climate change”. A report from Reuters suggests an agreement on a baseline for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which was partially dropped following the impact of COVID on the aviation industry in 2021, will be a key priority. The other priority will be an industry-backed goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The UK produced its own net-zero strategy in July this year including a £273 million investment package into innovation, as well as a commitment to 10% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. Trevelyn’s speech suggests Britain’s desire to play a leading role in global net-zero commitments, her calling on a long-term goal to clean up the sector and reduce its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. She warned that “failure here puts the future of aviation itself at risk”. – Ollie Jenkins