New scenario to decarbonise European transport by 2040
The transport sector accounted for 27% of EU emissions in 2017 and is the only sector that has seen emissions increase since 1990
Potential threats linked to climate change compel us to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To even have a chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C requires that global emissions reach net-zero as soon as possible. The EU can play a leading role in this transition with ambitious targets and policies. The transport sector accounted for 27% of EU emissions in 2017 and is the only sector that has seen emissions increase since 1990.
The report explores a future where the European transport sector is decarbonised by 2040
New research produced by Climact and New Climate Institute, commissioned by Greenpeace, explores a future where the European transport sector is decarbonised by 2040 without relying on biofuels. This work is intended to offer a roadmap for decision-makers to pursue a transition consistent with the magnitude and speed prescribed by the scientific community. It examines the intermediary targets required; it highlights and discusses some of the key technological, industrial and economic risks, challenges and benefits associated with these profound efforts; it recommends a set of policy packages that need to be implemented.
Figure 1: Yearly emissions – DT-2040 scenario (million tonnes of CO2).
The pursuit of a transport decarbonation in Europe will require profound efforts and the implementation of ambitious policies. Key messages include:
- Demand-side measures (such as modal shift or utilisation rate increase) are essential to facilitate the transition by reducing the scale of deployment of new technologies to challenging but plausible levels. To do so,
– Available funds at EU level (through the European Investment Bank for example) need to be shifted towards the development of greener infrastructure
– Binding regulations should be implemented: limiting, for example, the use of internal combustion engines for cars or banning short-haul flight connections
- In order for the supply side to contribute at the scale needed, current efforts also need to be scaled up quickly. Supporting innovation and enabling the massive deployment of new technologies will be key to achieving zero emissions.
– For road transport, the technology shift to electricity must be accelerated, new cars should be 100% electric by 2028
– Synthetic hydrocarbons (& in general power-to-liquids) based on zero-emission electricity are one piece of the puzzle, but must always be considered as a last resort, and targeted only at transport modes that do not have alternatives.
– Parallel massive changes in Power sector is needed to only produce clean electricity