EU clean mobility package is a good start

Written by Massimiliano Salini on 26 January 2018 in Opinion
Opinion

The Commission’s clean mobility package is a good start to decarbonising Europe’s transport sector - even if some kinks remain to be worked out, writes Massimiliano Salini.

Massimiliano Salini | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual


The Commission’s clean mobility package is aimed at decarbonising the transport sector with a series of joint measures, including the regulation on new CO2 standards for cars and light vehicles.

The decarbonisation of the transport sector has been addressed extensively in Parliament over the past year in the low-emission mobility strategy. Indeed, Parliament’s own-initiative report was approved in plenary last December. 

In recent months, discussions have piqued the interest of a wide range of stakeholders and representatives of civil society. This has resulted in significant differences, not so much concerning the objectives to be achieved set out by COP21, but rather concerning how to go about achieving them.


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As shadow rapporteur on the low-emission mobility initiative, I have always strongly advocated that the transition to clean mobility, and therefore the decarbonisation of the transport sector, should not result in a ferocious attack on the sector itself, penalising traditional modes of transport. Instead it should involve a constructive approach throughout the transition.

Accompanying the transport sector in the challenging process of decarbonisation means invoking the principle of technological neutrality.

We should not impose unequivocal solutions that could disrupt the process without providing a de facto solution. On the contrary, it is necessary to have access to a number of different tools to achieve the objective of decarbonisation.

Electrification appears, in many people’s eyes, to be the only way forward. In reality, however, there are alternative solutions, both already existing and under development, for tackling the problem of pollutant emissions (CNG, LNG, hydrogen technology, to name but a few).

To create a technology-neutral approach, we need to establish an environment that allows the deployment of vehicles powered by alternative sources. This is why the directive on the deployment of alternative fuels recharging and refuelling infrastructure plays a key role. This was approved in 2014, but has not been yet able to impact the alternative fuel vehicle market effectively because it has not been transposed by several member states.

The clean mobility package features an action plan aimed at promoting implementation and supporting investments in this specific area. This is a highly positive initiative that I hope will speed up the creation of the facilities required to power alternative vehicles.

Accompanying the sector towards clean mobility also means establishing a clear and stable legal framework guaranteeing the conditions necessary for developing efficient solutions.

In this regard, the timing proposed by the European Commission, which will set new CO2 emission standards by 2030, should be considered highly positive, in line with the 2030 climate and energy framework.

The clean mobility package proposed by the European Commission provides a solid starting point for the work to be done over the coming months. Although several issues will need to be addressed, for example the importance of the new CO2 standards and interim targets for 2025, on the whole the approach is constructive.

 

About the author

Massimiliano Salini (IT) is Parliament’s EPP group shadow rapporteur on a European strategy for low-emission mobility

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