IRU welcomes Green Deal for EU

The European Commission has published its Communication on the European Green Deal, setting out its future policy package to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

International Road Transport Union (IRU) Delegate, Matthias Maedge, said the IRU has welcomed the initiative and commitment by President Ursula von der Leyen to make the Green Deal the new growth strategy for Europe.

Maedge added that road transport has a key role to play and provided an overview of the Green Deal's provisions.

The Climate Law, planned for release in March 2020, is reported to set a legislative framework to guide the 2050 carbon neutrality objective. For road transport operators, this, according to IRU, represents new opportunities to help the world on its path towards sustainable and inclusive growth, as long as the policies entail smarter road transport rather than a reduction thereof. Today, 75 per cent of CO2 emissions stem from private passenger cars – a figure that speaks for itself when it comes to areas of action under any new climate legislation.

Energy Taxation Directive – accelerating market uptake of low carbon fuels
The revision of the Energy Taxation Directive, Maedge said, has the potential to lead to a harmonisation of fuel pricing across the European Union and reduce tank tourism, while also accelerating the uptake of lower CO2 fuels through the introduction of a CO2 tax.

To meet road transport sector growth, alternative fuels are becoming a necessity. This sector is expected to grow 300 per cent by 2050 in Eurasia – a demand that can only be met by a wider range of alternative fuel options, including gaseous and liquid based fuels. Moving to a zero emission circular economy, with a focus on well-to-wheel rather than tailpipe emissions, will be key according to the IRU.

While the EU recognises the importance of modal cooperation, IRU calls for a level playing field between the different transport modes. Rather than a shift, IRU recommends a focus on innovation to build faster, greener and more profitable interconnectivity of transport modes. To incentivise such modal cooperation, one of IRU’s recommendations is to reinvest road user charges into road transport innovation projects.

Road transport: Europe’s lifeblood is on the right path to CO2 reduction
In Europe, more than 50 per cent of goods are transported by road, which generates around €500 billion annual revenue and employs more than five million people. In the last 20 years, the road transport industry has heavily invested in innovative technologies, and in so doing, has managed to lower its emissions by up to 98 per cent. These figures, according to the IRU, demonstrate how sustainability is the guiding principle of the sector and what road transport means for the European economy.

“Only through cooperation will we achieve a more sustainable and prosperous future,” said Maedge. “Today, we can already pick some low hanging fruits, such as the cross-border use of high capacity vehicles and the use of collective mobility services instead of passenger cars.”

While IRU remains committed to pursuing decarbonisation efforts and working towards Europe’s goals, it also underlines the importance of a global vision when it comes to carbon neutrality.

“Only through cooperation will we achieve a more sustainable and prosperous future. Today, we can already pick some low hanging fruits, such as the cross-border use of high capacity vehicles and the use of collective mobility services instead of passenger cars,” said Maedge.

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