Emissions from transport: lessons from the EU

A report on emissions from the transport sector issued today by the European Environment Agency serves as a sobering reminder to Canada of the size of the challenge of reducing pollution and GHGs from transportation. Key findings include:

  • Transport was responsible for 24 % of all EU GHG emissions in 2009. The Roadmap states that EU Member States are required to reduce GHGs from transport by 60 % by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Since emissions actually increased by 27 % between 1990 and 2009, the EU must make an overall 68 % reduction between 2009 and 2050.
  • Annual energy consumption from transport grew continuously between 1990 and 2007 in the EEA member countries. While total energy demand from transport fell 4 % from 2007-2009, the upward trend is likely to resume with economic growth.
  • Air quality objectives were exceeded in many areas. For nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which can cause asthma and other respiratory problems, the annual limit values were exceeded at 41 % of traffic monitoring stations in 2009.
  • Particulate matter (PM10) from transport also causes serious health problems. In 2009 the daily limit value for PM10 was exceeded at 30 % of the traffic sites across the EU-27.
  • Almost 100 million people were exposed to damaging long-term average levels of noise from road vehicles on major roads.
  • The share of alternative fuelled cars on the road has grown steadily, comprising more than 5 % of the fleet in 2009. Most of these were using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), while electric vehicles made up 0.02 % of the total fleet.
  • Roads, railways and motorways are cutting up Europe’s landscape into ever smaller parcels, with serious consequences for biodiversity. Nearly 30 % of land in the EU is moderately, highly or very highly fragmented, restricting movement and breeding of many different species.

A summary and a link to the report are at http://www.eea.europa.eu/pressroom/newsreleases/european-transport-sector-must-be

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