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All transport needs to be decarbonized to hit EU's Green Deal target: consultancy

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  • Ben Kilbey    Frank Watson
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  • Agriculture Coal Electric Power Oil
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  • Hydrogen: Beyond the Hype

If the European Commission is to achieve its 2050 net-zero ambitions then all transport needs to be fully decarbonized, including aviation, consultancy Transport and Environment said Wednesday.

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The European Commission unveiled Wednesday its legislative proposal to enshrine in law a goal to reduce the EU's greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 -- seen as a major shake-up of Europe's economy by mid-century.

The law seeks to transform the European economy to become low-carbon by 2050, upending yearsof fossil fuel dependency and ushering in growth in cleaner energy, industry, transport, agriculture and buildings.

Net zero emissions means reducing greenhouse gases to the greatest extent possible and offsetting any remaining emissions through carbon sinks such as forests and other land-use changes.

William Todts, executive director at T&E, said: "Climate neutrality means the transport sector finally needs to begin its journey to a zero emissions future. For cars and trucks we will need a rapid shift to electric vehicles, powered by renewable electricity."

Todts said light vehicles were not the only cog in the wheel that needed adjusting. "We willalso need zero emission solutions for aviation and shipping where the rapid deployment of hydrogen, ammonia and e-fuels is essential. None of this will just happen so the Commission will need to present policies to make its vision reality."

T&E's vision for transport under the EU Green Deal calls for a phase-out of combustion car sales by 2035 and stronger CO2 standards for cars and trucks to make clean vehicles more availableand affordable.

"The shift to electrification will help the European automotive industry win the technological race and make the European economy stronger by reducing its reliance on imported oil," the consultancy said.

Policy to clean up Europe's air, with the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, could behaving an unexpected consequence as volume-weighted average CO2 emissions from the auto market hit the highest level last year since 2014, according to JATO Dynamics, another consultancy.

The move away from 'dirty diesel' in the wake of Dieselgate in 2015 could be having a detrimental effect on air quality, rather than improving it, the consultancy said.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics said: "As expected, the combination of fewer diesel registrations and more SUVs continued to have an impact on emissions. We do not anticipate any change to this trend in the mid-term. Indeed, these results further highlight the industry's need to adopt EVs at a rapid pace to reach emissions targets."

T&E said that for the aviation sector carbon pricing and fuel taxes are needed to put a stopto airline emissions growth, with a requirement for carriers to start using zero-emission e-fuels.

Reacting to the EU's proposals, the European Environmental Bureau was suggested the move was"too little, too late."

Barbara Mariani, policy manager for climate and energy at the EEB, said: "Today's climate law is another serious missed opportunity. Climate action enjoys incredibly strong support among the public, with 92% of EU citizens wanting their governments to set more ambitious targets. By delaying action on increasing the EU's 2030 climate targets and outlining concrete policy measures, Europe's 'man on the moon moment' looks a lot more like 'man stuck in traffic'. It's essential that the European Parliament and member states drive higher ambition in this law".