Growing transport use offsetting efficiency gains in Europe
While vehicles are getting cleaner in Europe, any environmental benefits are being offset by the fact that more journeys are being made in more vehicles over longer distances.
A report from the European Environment Agency looks at a decade of transport impacts and concludes that while there has been a drop in a number of pollutants affecting air quality, there are serious concerns about the persistent growth in the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The report, Towards a more efficient transport system looks at all transport, including the often-overlooked shipping and aviation emissions.
It covers the period running from 1997-2007, so does not take into account the bulk of the environmentally-beneficial impact of the recession, which has seen trade, travel and investment in new vehicles drop off as companies and individuals tighten their belts.
“Over the last ten years we have concentrated on measures to improve mobility whilst decoupling transport emissions from economic growth,” said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA.
“Today, we can see that the extensive investment in transport infrastructure has enabled us to travel further to meet our daily needs, but has not led to a decrease in the amount of time that we are exposed to noise, congestion and air pollution.
“In the future we will need to focus not only on the mode of transport, but also the reasons why people choose to travel, because ultimately mobility is inextricably linked to our quality of life.”
Transport accounts for around a quarter of total EU greenhouse gas emissions.
Unlike some sectors, transport’s impact on the environment continues to be closely linked to economic growth.
Key trends and findings from the report:
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