DG MOVE releases Transport Decarbonisation Roadmap


(FILES) A file photo taken on April 24, 2009 shows the European Union flag and national flags in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. The Nobel Peace Prize was on October 12, 2012 awarded to the European Union, an institution currently wracked by crisis but is credited with bringing more than a half century of peace to a continent ripped apart by World War II. AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

On April 7, 2016, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) published the roadmap for the forthcoming “Communication on decarbonising the transport sector”. (For the full Roadmap, please click here)



This communication follows the statement made in the Energy Union Package that the EU needs to speed up energy efficiency and decarbonisation in the transport sector in order to meet emissions targets, through initiatives such as switching to alternative fuels and the integration of energy and transportation systems.


The absence of a policy document for the decarbonisation of the transport sector prompted the development of this roadmap in order to collate and harmonise efforts to meet emission reduction targets effectively.


The roadmap divides transport emissions in to two categories:

  • CO2 emissions covered by the Emission Trading System (ETS) (aviation and electricity used by rail)
  • The non-ETS sectors (road, diesel rail, inland waterway). (Note: 30% reduction compared to 2005 levels is agreed for the non-ETS sector)


The roadmap focuses on the road transport sector in particular, as it represents 95% of EU transport non-ETS GHG emissions. It repeatedly highlights the need for the automotive sector to meet emissions reduction targets through initiatives focused on issues such as adopting alternative fuels, electrification, fuel efficiency and fuel and energy taxation, with all of these being tackled at EU rather than Member State level.


The Roadmap also argues that the EU strategy for decarbonisation should be technologically neutral, however it does note the risk of pursuing all fuel options, including fossil fuels, as being perhaps counter-productive if the EU is to succeed in its goal of substituting oil with alternative fuels.


Furthermore, the Roadmap acknowledges that alternative fuels and electrification will be key in meeting emissions reduction targets though competitiveness must be maintained.


Key EU decarbonisation figures

  • Overall target of 80% domestic reduction in EU GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2050
  • Transport currently represents 24% of all EU GHG emissions
  • For the 2030 climate and energy framework, the overall domestic emission reduction effort has been divided between an EU ETS-sector reduction of 43% and a non-ETS sector reduction of 30%


Other targets

  • In 2011, the European Council agreed to reduce total GHG emissions by 80-95% in 2050 based on 1990 levels
  • The EU aims to reduce transport GHG emissions by 60% by 2050 compared to 1990 and by around 20% by 2030 compared to 2008 levels
  • In 2014, the European Council agreed to reduce total GHG emissions by at least 40% by 2030


Policy options

Transport-related EU level actions that contribute to decarbonisation have been announced in various policy documents, e.g. the Roadmap for the Energy Union, reformed regional policy and the European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020, the Clean Air Policy Package, the Urban Mobility Package, the 2011 Transport White Paper. However, these have different objectives and cover different time planning horizons.


The Roadmap for the Energy Union, sets out a number of transport actions to be carried out at EU level:

  • Reviewing of Regulations setting emission performance standards to establish post-2020 targets for cars and vans
  • Establishing a monitoring and reporting system for heavy duty vehicles (trucks and buses) with a view to improve purchaser information
  • Revising the Directive relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions
  • Action plan on alternative, sustainable fuels, including second and third generation biofuels
  • Fair and efficient pricing – revision of the Eurovignette Directive and framework to promote European electronic tolling
  • Inclusion of road fuel use in the EU ETS has been proposed by some stakeholders as an option
  • Review of market access rules for road transport
  • Promoting collective bus/coach passenger transport
  • Master Plan for the deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Review of Directive on the Promotion of Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles


The Commission has also launched work on the Smart Cities agenda and the Urban Mobility Package, contributing to transport decarbonisation by enhancing multi-modality and triggering the right mix between soft modes, collective transport and cleaner cars, and at making urban transport services more efficient, more reliable and easier to use with the help of advanced information and communication technologies.


Decarbonisation efforts are also supported through the Clean Air Policy Package, which will lead to reductions in air pollutant emissions from transport, and Cohesion policy, which supports efforts for resource efficiency and decarbonising transport.


Moreover, the following specific consultation activities will contribute directly to the work on the communication on decarbonisation of transport:

  • A high-level stakeholder conference on road transport decarbonisation was held on 18 June 2015.
  • The Commission ran an open consultation from 10 March until 2 June 2015 in relation to the 2011 White Paper on transport “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system”.
  • In connection to alternative fuels, stakeholders are also consulted within the framework of the Sustainable Transport Forum launched by the Commission on 23 April 2015
  • High Level Group on Automotive Industry GEAR 2030 launched by the Commission on 19 October 2015


Next steps


The roadmap recommends that in order to compile a list of viable options for achieving the GHG reduction goals, data needs to be analysed on the potential CO2 benefits and costs for the different scenarios in terms of policy mix to find the lowest cost approach. Much of the data already exists and will be used in the analysis, drawing on studies such as impact assessments from related white papers and roadmaps.


June 2016: Publication of the EC Communication on decarbonisation of the transport sector expected


The Communication and its supporting analytical document will provide an overview of the challenges related to decarbonisation of transport and the potential policy options to address it.




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