Brussels wants to drive down carbon emissions from transport by 90%

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By Gregoire Lory
Brussels wants to drive down carbon emissions from transport by 90%

Brussels wants to revolutionise transport and cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 90% over the next 30 years.

The strategy, presented on Wednesday, lays the foundation for transforming the transport system and making it more sustainable.

It includes ambitions like making 100 European cities climate neutral by 2030 and doubling both the uptake of high-speed trains and the amount of rail freight traffic. 

It also wants zero-emission commercial and large aircraft to be ready and available by 2035.

And by 2050, it would like nearly all road vehicles to be emission-free.

The targets are highly ambitious and good for the environment, but actually achieving them is another thing, said Andrew Murphy, aviation director from the NGO Transport and Environment. 

"It's ambitious," he said. "It addresses all transport modes and the need for all transport to be decarbonised as quickly as possible. 

"It has a lot of interesting ideas, but you know the strategy is only at very the beginning. A lot of work needs to be done, a lot of work on the details.

"Take for example what's going to happen in the aviation sector. The European Commission wants to put new fuels into aircraft to make sure flights are more sustainable, but we don't know quite yet what kind of fuel they going to use. Are they going to use crop-based biofuels which have a terrible climate record? Or are they going to seek to develop new types of fuels made from renewable electricity? That's still all to play for. A lot will be decided in 2021."

Frans Timmermans, who has responsibility for the EU's green transition at the European Commission, said: "To reach our climate targets, emissions from the transport sector must get on a clear downward trend. 

"Today's strategy will shift the way people and goods move across Europe and make it easy to combine different modes of transport in a single journey. 

"We've set ambitious targets for the entire transport system to ensure a sustainable, smart, and resilient return from the COVID-19 crisis."

Adina Vălean, the EU commissioner for transport, told Euronews that the plans will take a huge amount of investment and infrastructural change. 

She said: "If you look at zero and low emission vehicles, in order to incentivise their uptake, we are saying [that we want] 30 million zero-emission cars and 80,000 zero-emission lorries by 2030 [and] for this, we have to deploy infrastructure [changes], like charging points. So, we say by 2025, 1 million charging points, by 2030 3 million charging points, so these are the type of objectives that we are proposing for the decarbonisation of transport."