Towards a Sustainable European Transport System: Investing in Clean and Innovative Solutions
Transport is a key sector contributing significantly to the European economy, accounting for 4.8% of European Union gross value and providing eleven million jobs. Notwithstanding the important economic benefits, transport is responsible for a third of all energy consumption in the European Environment Agency territory and for more than 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, with aviation activities being the leading source of polluters.
In the period between 1990 and 2015 greenhouse gas emission in the EU have gone down by 22.1%. To keep this pace, in November 2017 the European Commission released a Clean Mobility Package which included different propositions aimed at encouraging: innovation across low-emission vehicles, alternative fuels, promotion of combined modes of transport and alternatives to the use of car. The revision of the Renewable Energy Directive proposed by European Commission in 2017, also takes into consideration the role of sustainable mobility and bio fuels.
In the context of increasing environmental emergencies, European and national authorities are under pressure to find the delicate balance between the interests of businesses, national priorities and the well-being of citizens and the ecosystem. According to the European Commission lately almost 50% of transport investments have been directed to environmentally harmful sectors, such as roads and aviation. Growing cities, hosting almost half of the world’s population, are exposed to an increased danger of extensive air and noise pollution, with data from European Environmental Agency, estimating approximately 400,000 premature deaths per year due to the air pollution. On the other hand, cities have the potential of driving positive change and promoting environmentally sustainable solutions optimising public transportation schemes, introducing low-emission zones and regulating passenger cars circulation.
Moreover, public and private investments to smart technologies for transport are gaining popularity on the European level, following the trend and responding to the urgency for a reformed, sustainable and more environmentally-friendly transport system.
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