Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: The EU mounts pressure on decarbonization in the run up to COP 27; Major European cities plead for 2027 deadline for zero emissions buses; Council of the EU agrees new rules for energy performance of buildings; Statistics reveal the need for a new green mobility push in the UK.
The EU mounts pressure on decarbonization in the run up to COP 27. An EU delegation has called on all member states at the G20 to step up their emissions-reduction targets ahead of the upcoming COP 27 in Egypt from 6th and 18th November. It comments that the war in Ukraine has escalated the importance of climate change mitigation as Europe is feeling the burn of exponentially rising energy prices. The calls also come after it was exposed that even if current climate targets are met under the ‘Fit for 55’ climate plan, current trajectories show a temperature rise to 2.7 degrees Celsius, far above the Paris Agreement which aims to limit temperature rises to well-below 2 degrees. Members of the European Parliament have also called on developed economies to meet their obligations to help developing countries achieve climate targets, including a yearly $100 billion Climate Finance Goal (CFG) set in 2009 and a reinvestment of the revenue gained from Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) certificates into decarbonising developing countries. CFG funding was originally aimed to go ahead between 2020-2025, but lacklustre commitments by developed countries, who cite geo-political and security issues, combined with the pandemic have meant it is set to be implemented in 2023. At the G20 conference, the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, called it “a question of credibility” whether the developed countries would meet the demands. Commitments to decarbonisation by the G20 have been shrouded in controversy since it was exposed that G20 nations are committing 63% of public finance towards subsidising fossil fuels predominantly in China, Indonesia, and the UK. The EU hopes progress at COP 27 could see developed countries upping their commitments to decarbonisation goals – Ollie Jenkins
Major European cities plead for 2027 deadline for zero emissions buses.11 European Cities have told EU lawmakers that only clean, zero-emissions buses should be sold in Europe by 2027. In a letter this week, civil society groups from 11 countries (including Milan, Paris, Barcelona and Hamburg), called for an EU sales target for urban buses to ensure public transport is on a path to zero carbon emissions, cleaning the air pollution via a supply of green vehicles in cities and towns. According to the coalition, if action is not taken at EU level, there will continue to be a limited supply of zero emission buses, which does not meet the demand needed to tackle air pollution, therefore leaving cities with no option but to purchase combustion engine buses, which currently release around 15 million tonnes of CO2 annually. 23% of new urban buses registered in the EU in 2021 were zero-emission vehicles, up from 16% in 2020. This strong growth rate shows the transition to zero-emissions is possible if action is taken so manufacturers can meet the demand for battery electric and hydrogen buses. It is though that by 2024, over 40 European cities will be solely using zero-emission buses, which is expected to rise as other authorities move away from relying on fossil fuels – Bethan Alderson
Council of the EU agrees new rules for energy performance of buildings. This week the council has agreed a proposal to revise the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The revision means that all new buildings should be zero-emission buildings by 2030, and that by 2050 existing buildings should also be transformed to zero-emissions. The proposal will mean substantial energy savings to help citizens, as well as meeting energy and climate objectives for 2030 and 2050. From 2028 all new buildings owned by public bodies will need to be zero-emissions buildings. A minimum energy performance standard will be introduced for existing buildings, corresponding to the maximum amount of primary energy that buildings can use per metre squared(m2) annually. These measures will hopefully encourage renovations and a gradual phase-out of the worst energy-performing buildings. For existing residential buildings, a minimum energy performance standard will also be set, based on national trajectory, that fits with progressive renovations of the buildings. A roadmap outlining national targets has also been put in place, which correlates with national building renovation plans. There will also be a requirement to create available sustainable mobility infrastructure, such as parking spaces for bicycles and electric car and bike charging points. The proposal exempts some buildings such as places of worship and historical buildings – Bethan Alderson
Statistics reveal the need for a new green mobility push in the UK. Newly published statistics by Transport and Environment reveal that total UK Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) in 2021, including Nitrous Oxide, Particulate Matter and Carbon Dioxide, were 5.2% lower than pre-pandemic levels. In transport, which is outed as the largest emitting sector with 24% total emissions in 2020, 2021 emissions are revealed to have reduced by 11.2% from 2019 and by 14% from 1990. While this is promising, the reports’ regressions show that 91% of UK transport emissions come from road transport, with cars emitting 52%, Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) 19% and vans 16%, citing their vastly more frequent use compared to other modes of transportation which had the effect of offsetting efficiency from modern technology and innovations. Comparatively, lesser-used road transport solutions like buses, coaches, and electric cars had far lower pollution rates per-person. Aircraft remain the most damaging travel option, on a typical journey between Leeds and Belfast emitting 1.7 times more carbon pollution than a car, while also dispersing a host of ‘indirect effects’ including the release of Nitrous Oxide, Particulate Matter and the concerning impact of plane contrails. With the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak being criticised for not attending the upcoming COP27 conference, the statistics show the need for the UK to up its game in transport emissions. – Ollie Jenkins
Participation of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in the the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow 2 November 2021, 15:00:41 https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/reportage/P-052159 Dati Bendo