A roadmap to climate neutrality – CLEPA Newsletter Editorial February 2020
As we go to press, stakeholders of all kinds are scrambling to give input to the public consultation on the roadmap for enshrining in law the ambition to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. In parallel, Commission officials at the highest level are clocking up meeting after meeting with those same stakeholders to obtain additional insights and to provide clarifications on some of the language used in the announcements made so far.
What stuck with me, having been part of some of these exchanges of late, is that the Commission don’t consider themselves to be implementing a ‘blueprint’, but are rather striving for a ‘roadmap’ – as it is also stated in the consultation.
This is important, because a roadmap leaves open the option of adapting policy along the way, incorporating new facts as well as learnings.
In the case of decarbonising transport, for example, the speed of change is pretty difficult to predict. It will depend on technological advancements as much as on their acceptance in the market or on their deployment which will be dependent on factors such as the availability of related infrastructure. A roadmap sets milestones for reaching the target: carbon neutrality by 2050. Yet, with such approach, the all-important ‘how’ can still be modified, evaluated on the way, and improved as required. It becomes an issue of governance.
A roadmap leaves open the option of adapting policy along the way, incorporating new facts as well as learnings
The automotive suppliers’ industry in Europe is a driving force behind the transformation to sustainable, safe, and smart mobility. We support the Paris agreement and aspire to contribute to a reliable, technology-open, and ambitious regulatory framework to achieve its objectives.
EU climate policy is currently composed of a variety of instruments regulating emissions in specific sectors and we are concerned that such fragmentation decreases efficiency of the regulatory framework. Specifically, with regard to transport, we advocate a level playing field for different drive train technologies. The regulatory framework should be adapted to remove any implicit or explicit technology bias.
In road transport all efficient and low or zero carbon solutions will be necessary and have to be effective in new vehicles but also in the existing fleet. This includes battery electric vehicles, fuel cells and efficient combustion engines, along with the necessary charging infrastructure and availability of renewable energy as well as refuelling infrastructure and availability of renewable fuels, e-fuels, and hydrogen.
It's encouraging to hear that any upcoming proposal will be fully impact-assessed, and that horizontal and sectoral strategies will be cross-referenced
Likewise, in view of levelling the playing field, it is important that the Commission is currently examining the potential contribution of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to tackling carbon emissions in transport. Initially, the Well-to-Wheel approach may provide a less complex alternative to LCA.
It’s encouraging to hear that any upcoming proposal will be fully impact-assessed, and that horizontal and sectoral strategies will be cross-referenced to avoid them being counterproductive instead of mutually reinforcing.
There’s no doubt, the jury is still out on whether Europe will end up managing disruption or whether it will truly be able to turn the Green Deal into a sustainable, inclusive and globally competitive growth strategy. But finding a common language is a big part of the job. Good dialogue starts with listening and truly understanding each other’s needs and concerns.
Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General
In: CLEPA News, Environment & Energy