Saturday, March 18, 2006

Call for action on EU-transport related energy usage

Environment DAILY, 6 March 2006 -The European commission should make a specific strategy for reducing energy use in transport, a group of EU experts has told the European commission's environment and transport advisory body.

In a report, the group argues that until now EU energy policy in the transport sector has focused almost solely on energy efficiency. Other policies such as the trans-European transport network (TEN) might provide lower energy use by reducing congestion. But this would likely be offset by increases in long-distance journeys in the long term, the experts say.

The report calls for more demand-control policies, including increasing the cost of both motorised and freight transport. Such policies have "impressive" potential for energy reductions, it says.

Without giving a specific deadline, the report argues that car traffic in Europe could be reduced by 10% by implementing a series of measures ranging from eco-driving programmes to setting non-binding targets for energy consumption by 2020. Other impacts expected include a 10% shift from road haulage to rail and inland waterways.

However, one member of the expert group told Environment Daily that some proposals, especially those regarding modal shift, would be impossible to achieve. "This means that rail traffic would have to double, which is not realistic", said Karl-Heinz Zierock from the German environment agency.


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