Mobility and the use of energy

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Freedom of movement for persons and goods is one of the founding principles of the EC. Notwithstanding the positive effects of mobility, the transport sector contributes to many environmental problems: it generates about 60% of overall CO emissions and accounts for 25% of total energy-related CO2 emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from road and air transport have increased about 20% since 1990 in EEA member states, whereas emissions of air pollutants are falling despite a growth in traffic. Transport is also mainly reponsible for noise disturbance and fragmentation of natural habitats posing a significant thread to biodiversity. Transport volumes are growing at a rate where many of the improvements brought about by new technology are being partly or fully negated.[1]

Emissions from energy production and use hold a significant share off overall carbon dioxide emissions. In the short run, environmentally friendly transport modes (such as marine or rail transport) and renewable energy sources (such as solar energy and wind energy) need to be boosted. In general, the widely accepted goal of a decoupling of transport and energy use from GDP growth needs better targeted efforts.[1]

Measures for improving the environmental performance of transport include regulatory standards, technical measures to increase the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, better traffic management and better urban planning. Emissions cuts in CO, NOx, VOCs and fine particles are subject of the EU-Auto-Oil Programme that contains stricter limit values for light vehicles in 2005 and heavy duty vehicles in 2008 (Directive 1999/96/EC). The EU has further adopted a strategy to cut CO2-Emissions from cars. Its aim is to reach - by 2010 at the latest - an average CO2 emission figure of 120 g/km for all new passenger cars marketed in the Union. Focus is on voluntary agreements concluded with the automotive industry and work on fiscal framework conditions. Another focal point is the promotion of clean fuels: bio-fuels (from organic matter) shall provide 5.75% of the total energy consumption by 2010. By 2020, 20% of the present fossil oil consumption shall be replaced with bio-fuels.

The Commission's White Paper "European Transport Policy for 2010: Time to decide", proposes an Action Plan that aims at returning market shares of traffic modes by 2010 to their 1998 levels. Changes in the modal split shall be reached through better interlinking of transport modes and the promotion of rail, maritime and inland waterway transport, while the Commission's Marco Polo programme especially promotes intermodality.[1]

Getting the prices right is of major importance since present price structures favour individual transport. There is slow but positive progress towards restructuring of transport charges. Passenger fares for rail and bus services are, however increasing faster than the cost of private car use favouring private car use over public transport.

The reduction of fossil fuel use will be encouraged through the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Energy saving, more efficient energy use and promotion of renewable energies such as wind, biomass, small-scale hydro power, photovoltaic and bio-fuels from organic matter, as well as a stronger international cooperation are essential mid-term objectives. The European Commission has set the objective of doubling the share of renewable energies in gross domestic energy consumption in the European Union by 2010 (from the present 6% to 12%). In the longer run, the EU strives to become a hydrogen-based economy.[1]

To enhance the cost-effective and efficient end-use of energy in Member States the Commission has proposed a Directive on the promotion of end-use efficiency and energy services in 2003 that sets out clear annual energy saving targets for the period 2006-2012 (COM 2003/739 final.). The Commission has also set the overall indicative target of doubling the share of electricity production from cogeneration to 18% by 2010 and has adopted legislative measures to promote the use of combined heat and power (Directive 2004/8/EC). The largest single potential for energy saving is offered by the building sector. Since 2003, Directive 2002/91/ EC regulates energy performance standards for buildings. The reduction of energy consumed by products is tackled by two approaches: labelling and energy efficiency requirements. Recently, the Commission has proposed a Framework Directive on establishing a framework of setting Eco-design requirements (COM 2003/453) that will define conditions and criteria for setting requirements regarding environmentally relevant product characteristics (such as energy consumption).[1]

The European Commission has launched several programmes to support the European Union's policies in the field of energy as laid down in the Green Paper on Security of Energy Supply, the White Paper on Transport and other related Community legislation. Non-technical action such as rational use of energy is supported by the "Intelligent Energy - Europe" (IEE)-Programme. The Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development promotes research on efficient energy use and new energy sources.

According to the Impact Assessment Guidelines of the European Commission, the following key questions are of particular importance when examining the impacts of policy initiatives on mobility (transport modes) and the use of energy:

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission. [1]

This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.