Tag Archive: emissions

  1. Car emissions 14% higher than advertised by manufacturers, study finds

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    Source: Euractiv

    A recent study has revealed an 80% increase in the disparity between official and real-word car emissions over the past 5 years.

    The study conducted by the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) has revealed this increase despite the use of advanced testing procedures aimed at minimizing such gaps.

    The ICCT, renowned for its involvement in uncovering the “dieselgate” scandal, scrutinized CO2 emission data from passenger cars across Europe and discovered discrepancies between official figures and actual emissions. The ICCT has been tracking vehicle emission disparities since the early 2010s, with the latest data revealing a notable rise. In 2022, the gap for vehicles registered in Germany rose to a reported 14%, from 8% in 2018.

    Jan Dornoff, the lead researcher at ICCT, expressed concern about the widening rift, emphasizing its potential to undermine the European Union’s efforts to mitigate transport-related CO2 emissions. The study, which analyzed CO2 emission s reported by the European Environment Agency alongside real-world fuel consumption information from over 160,000 combustion engine and hybrid cars, underscores the urgent need for action.

    Revised testing

    Following the “dieselgate” scandal in 2015, in which major automakers such as Volkswagen were found to have used so-called “defeat devices” to fraudulently lower their emissions, European testing procedures were revised. In September 2017, the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) was instituted. The test is designed to be more representative of real driving emissions than its predecessor, the New European Driving Cycle. Despite these efforts to enhance accuracy, the study indicates a persistent widening of the gap between test results and real-world emissions.

    While WLTP led to a 7.3% reduction in reported CO2 emissions between 2018 and 2022, real-world emissions decreased by a mere 2.3% during the same period. Dr. Peter Mock, ICCT Europe’s managing director, advocates for a correction mechanism to ensure manufacturers meet emissions reduction targets effectively.

    Under current EU legislation, new vehicles are mandated to utilize On Board Fuel Consumption Monitoring (OBFCM) devices, expected to provide more accurate data on CO2 emissions by 2030. However, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) disputes the study’s findings, arguing that OBFCM data, collected since 2021, lacks sufficient representation of real-world conditions.

    The ACEA maintains that while WLTP tests aim to simulate real driving patterns, variations in driving conditions significantly impact real-world fuel efficiency. The association underscores the complexity of factors influencing real-world driving conditions, such as traffic, terrain, and weather, which may deviate from controlled laboratory environments.

  2. EU’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped last year, but accelerated efforts still needed to meet ambitious 2030 targets

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    Source: European Environment Agency

    Greenhouse gas emissions dropped by two percent last year across the European Union, compared to 2021 levels according to estimates in the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) ‘Trends and Projections’ report. However, despite gains made in emissions reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, the report cautions that accelerated action is urgently needed to meet the EU’s ambitious climate and energy targets.

    Now that the bulk of EU climate and energy legislation under the ‘Fit for 55 package’ is in place, the EU and its Member States are working to deliver on the targets, according to Trends and projections in Europe 2023 report which details progress made.

    As greenhouse gas emissions returned to a downward trajectory following the 2021 rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, Member States also reported a higher level of ambition for 2030 reductions and thousands of national policies and measures to deliver on climate and energy objectives. While the report highlights some encouraging signs of progress, it also emphasises that efforts will need to at least double to reach the ambitious targets set for the end of this decade.

    Climate and energy progress to 2030

    The EU has reduced net greenhouse gas emissions including international aviation, by 31% compared to 1990 levels, while simultaneously fostering economic growth. Against the backdrop of soaring natural gas prices, 2022 witnessed a 2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, driven by substantial decreases in the buildings and industrial sectors, while emissions from energy supply and transport saw an increase.

    To achieve the 2030 emission reduction target, the pace of annual greenhouse gas emission reductions in Europe must more than double compared with the annual progress seen since 2005, the EEA report says. More rapid reductions are particularly needed for the emissions from road transport, buildings, agriculture, waste and small industries, all of which are covered under the Effort Sharing Regulation. Reductions in energy consumption and growth of renewable energy must accelerate even faster to reach the 2030 targets as included in the recently adopted Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Directives.

    At the same time, the report indicates noticeable progress in specific areas. While wind and solar held a modest presence in the 2005 electricity sector, their estimated share in electricity production has surpassed 20% in 2022. The recent roll-out of solar deployment was particularly remarkable as it grew by 28% over the course of 2022. The report also notes a remarkable surge in the sales of heat pumps during 2022 and the increasing share of electric vehicles, accounting for a 22% share in the total new car sales last year.

    In March 2023, Member States reported more than 3000 policies and measures to achieve the energy and climate objectives. They project that measures already in place across Europe would lead to a reduction of 43% in 2030 for total net greenhouse gas emissions including international aviation, while further measures that are currently being planned would boost reductions to 48%. Last year, Member States only projected this reduction to total 41%, indicating a joint increase in ambition across Europe in the past year. However, this will still leave a seven percentage point gap to the 55% EU climate 2030 target.

    Beyond 2030

    Looking beyond 2030, the gap between the projected effect of policies and measures and the targets is wider, the EEA report says. It cautions that the window of opportunity to put in place the right decisions and technologies is limited, making it imperative that climate neutrality is taken into account in policies that address many sectors. In particular, the report highlights that there is an urgent need to speed up efforts in transportation and agriculture towards 2050, which have so far lagged other sectors in reducing emissions and mentions the crucial contribution of increasing the CO2-removal capacity within Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry sector.

    The update of Member States’ National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), with drafts being submitted since the summer of 2023, and final updated NECPs to be expected by 30 June 2024, provides an opportunity for Member States to establish stronger policies and measures and enhance ambition levels. The report says that the update of these plans, together with the rapid implementation of measures adopted at EU level,are key ingredients to deliver on the targets.

    EEA support to EU Climate Law progress reporting

    The EEA is at the same time launching its Status of reported national adaptation actions in 2023 briefing which presents the current state of play of national adaptation policies. Both are being released at the same time under the EU’s Climate Law Progress Assessment which looks at both mitigation and adaptation efforts across EU Member States.

  3. Stockholm to remove fossil-fuel cars from its centre

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    Source: The Mayor

    From 2025, a new environmental zone will be set up within the heart of Stockholm, prohibiting petrol and diesel-fuelled cars. This will be achieved by instituting a new environmental, low-emission zone which will cover a 20 block area in the downtown district, including prominent shopping streets and busy office areas.

    The primary objective of this new and drastic action is unsurprising; it aims to foster a cleaner, quieter, and healthier atmosphere in the Swedish capital, by prioritizing the well-being of both residents and visitors.

    The planned environmental zone falls within the area formed by Kungsgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan, Hamngatan and Sveavägen, and the entrance to the Klaratunnel via Mäster Samuelsgatan is also part of the planned zone.

    The plan, which was proposed by the Green Party in the city council, aims to establish Zone type 3, which is considered the strictest according to Swedish standards, meaning minimal exceptions for a return to the emissions produced by cars will be permitted. It is expected to make the capital a compelling example for other Swedish cities to follow.

    In practical terms, only fully electric vehicles will be permitted to operate within the zone limits. However, certain exceptions will be granted to bigger plug-in hybrid vans, ambulances, police vehicles, and vehicles operated by individuals with documented disabilities.

    Furthermore, Reuters reported that Green Party officials have indicated a plan to gradually expand the zone to encompass more of Stockholm.

    As expected, this abrupt and drastic shift, along with the short timeline for implementation, is not met with unanimous approval regardless of attitudes towards ‘going green’. Private transportation companies, including taxi operators, assert that these changes are being rushed, citing insufficient availability of EV charging points in the city, making such a transition currently unfeasible.

  4. Digitalisation and Europe’s sustainable transport economy

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    Source: European Environment Agency

    Digital technologies can offer scope to alleviate the impact that Europe’s mobility sector has on our everyday lives, be it damage to the environment from our vehicle emissions, or the unwavering time we spend in congestions. A new investigation by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has reported that any gains made are circumstantial to the employment of digital solutions and the demand of transport in more general.

    New report: Digitalisation and mobility

    The EEA’s Transport and Environment Report explores the impact of digitalisation on what is largely one of the most important facets of our lives and the EU economy: transport. Parameters have been set by the European Green Deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050, but the process is not straightforward.

    Sustainability is strived for in the transport sector, and digital transformation can certainly help how it operates. According to the EEA, the effects are still unclear and depend on transport demands, something that has, until recently, off-balanced technological efficiency gains, such as lower fuel consumption.

    Perhaps the most effective consequence of digitalisation on our mobility sector is the new data that can be produced and used to create and meet targets that support a better, more objective mobility infrastructure. With the introduction of automated mobility, digitalisation will certainly be an influence, not least in terms of safety and passenger accessibility.

    The EEA report goes on to warn that automated technology might, in fact, have a detrimental effect and increase transport demands. Optimised journeys and an eventual reduction in costs will play a significant role.

    New briefing: Commuting or working from home?

    Teleworking, commonly known as working from home, generates more uncertainties for the mobility sector as it is still a relatively new concept. According to a new EEA briefing, ‘From the daily office commute to flexible working patterns — teleworking and sustainability’, these new-founded working patterns will have an effect on our car-commuting habits and be an influence on the way our towns and cities are developed. However, due to the aforementioned uncertainties, the EEA recommends supporting policies be put in place.

    The briefing on teleworking and sustainability is part of EEA’s foresight work that uses horizon scanning to identify emerging issues that can affect Europe’s sustainability efforts. 

  5. Brussels’ Good Move Plan slashes traffic numbers and boosts cycling

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    Source: TheMayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    The new traffic plan in the city’s centre has triggered a 19% drop in traffic while increasing cycling by an average of 18%.

    Good Move is the Regional Mobility Plan for the Brussels-Capital Region. Approved in 2020 by the Brussels Government, it defines the main policy guidelines in the field of mobility. This plan aims to improve the living environment of the people of Brussels, while supporting the demographic and economic development of the Brussels-Capital Region. In the city centre ‘pentagon’, the plan aims to change traffic flow through road closure and new one-way designation, thus leading to a less attractive driving experience.

    After six months, the first results of the scheme have been unveiled, though local authorities state that it is too early to draw broad and sweeping conclusions. Initial findings indicate that the central part of Brussels has a reduced traffic flow, with more walking space, pedestrians, cyclists, reduced noise and cleaner air when compared to measurement prior to the scheme. Total traffic has fallen by approximately 19%, while morning and evening rush-hour cycling has risen by an approximately 23% and 13% respectively.

    Alderman Dhondt was quoted in a press statement saying: “Many people have simply made a different mobility choice and switched to cycling or public transport, for example. The circulation plan thus contributes to the ultimate goal: a more pleasant city for everyone.”

  6. Global food miles generate almost 20% of all food-related CO2 emissions

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    Source: European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment

    Food transport in global supply chains is vital to the industry’s success as demand for diverse products increases. New modelling estimates the carbon footprint of food miles to be close to a fifth of all related emissions.

    ‘Food miles’ are a measurement based on the distance a product travels from farm to fork, or production to consumption. Environmental impact is measured in tonne-kilometre (tkm). Currently, the assessment of food miles is limited, with only a select few food items having a fully quantified food-mile analysis. A new study from The University of the West of England provides a more comprehensive estimate of global food miles and their impact – inputting countries of origin, destination countries, transport distances and food commodity masses.

    In its write-up of the study, the European commission shared the following: “When the entire food supply chain was considered in this analysis the researchers found that global food miles equate to about 3.0 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) – higher than previously thought. This indicates that transport accounts for 19% of total food system emissions. The transport of fruit and vegetables contributes 36% of food miles emissions – around twice the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) released during their production. Food miles only contributed 18% of the total freight miles, but the researchers found that the emissions from these made up 27% of total freight emissions, mostly from international trade (18%).

    The researchers also estimated the global food-system emissions to be 15.8 GtCO2e, equating to 30% of the world’s GHG emissions. With global food expenditure around US$5 trillion (€4.85 trillion) in 2017 and the global population rising annually, it is useful to consider the impacts of food miles on climate change. The researchers say that this should be coupled with more locally produced food items and add that improved food security through better food-systems management also requires integration of environmental protection targets.”

    The reduction of emissions in last-mile deliveries and trips will aid in the de-carbonization of the food industry, with LEV vehicles such as electric cargo bikes offering a proven solution.

    For the full study, see: Li, M., Jia, N., Lenzen, M., Malik, A., Wei, L., Jin, Y. and Raubenheimer, D. (2022) Global food-miles account for nearly 20% of total food-systems emissions. Nature Food, 3(6): 445–453. [Online version].

  7. EU transport emissions continue to rise; Luxembourg, Austria, and Slovenia are largest contributors

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    Source: Mayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    The latest European Environment Agency (EEA) report shows transport emissions have risen by 24% in the past 30 years.

    One very crucial takeaway from the EEA analysis is that, although carbon emissions from most sectors have fallen significantly between 1990-2020, they have increased in the transport sector. Additionally, the Austrian Automotive Club (Verkehrsklubs Österreich) published a complimentary analysis of transport emissions per capita per country based on the EEA data for 2020.

    According to the analysis, Luxembourg has the highest emissions per capita from transport at 7,355 kilograms of CO2 per capita. Next comes Austria with a considerably smaller 2,300 kilograms, and Slovenia with 2,180 kilograms. For comparison, the EU 27 average sat at 1,545 kilograms.

    Why Luxembourg?

    Data from Eurostat in 2019 placed Luxembourg as the country with the highest rate of car ownership (681 cars per 1,000 people). While this statistic could be argued to explain the country’s CO2 transport emissions, it loses significance when compared to Italy which has approximately 666 cars per 1,000 people, but places 22nd of the 27 European countries for transport-related CO2 emissions.

    The Luxembourg emission scenario becomes stranger still when considering the country’s free public transport policy, including cross-border travel. Transport specialists across Europe will be watching the country with interest in the coming years to see if it is able to successfully curb emissions.

    The EU 27 by emissions from transport, from the Austrian Automotive Club research:

    1. Luxembourg: 7,355 kilograms of CO2 per capita;
    2. Austria: 2,300 kilograms;
    3. Slovenia: 2,180 kilograms;
    4. Lithuania: 2,110 kilograms;
    5. Ireland: 1,930 kilograms;
    6. Denmark: 1,930 kilograms;
    7. Belgium: 1,795 kilograms;
    8. Finland: 1,785 kilograms;
    9. Germany: 1,720 kilograms;
    10. Estonia: 1,655 kilograms;
    11. Poland: 1,645 kilograms;
    12. Czech Republic: 1,625 kilograms;
    13. Latvia: 1,595 kilograms;
    14. Cyprus: 1,565 kilograms;
    15. France: 1,550 kilograms;
    16. Spain: 1,480 kilograms;
    17. Netherlands: 1,455 kilograms;
    18. Croatia: 1,435 kilograms;
    19. Portugal: 1,390 kilograms;
    20. Sweden: 1,355 kilograms;
    21. Bulgaria: 1,335 kilograms;
    22. Italy: 1,330 kilograms;
    23. Hungary: 1,270 kilograms;
    24. Greece: 1,255 kilograms;
    25. Slovakia: 1,250 kilograms;
    26. Malta: 970 Kilograms;
    27. Romania: 925 kilograms.
  8. Can shared mobility options reduce the emissions of urban transportation systems?

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    Source: Fraunhofer ISI

    The usage of shared micromobility services has increased in recent years, particularly in urban areas. But can shared e-scooters and e-bikes contribute to the sustainability of cities and their transportation systems? To answer these and other questions, Fraunhofer ISI conducted a new study on behalf of the micromobility provider Lime by fusing mode shift survey data with lifecycle emissions data in six cities around the world. The study also sets out what implications these findings have for industry and practice.

    Download the full study, here.

    Most recently, CO2 emissions in the global mobility and transport sector have increased by 8% in 2021 they are supposed to decrease by 20% by 2030 to meet international climate targets. To achieve these extremely challenging goals, a broad range of measures are necessary, including rapid electrification of road vehicles, an expansion of public transport and a better transport system network. New forms of shared micromobility have emerged over the past decade, especially in urban areas, complementing existing mobility offers with the promise to reduce urban transport’s carbon footprint.

    However, it is currently heavily debated whether and, if so, to what extent shared e-scooters and e-bikes actually contribute to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions. Previous studies have primarily focused either on comparing single modes of transport through life cycle assessments (LCA) or on who uses these new modes for which purposes. Research on the overall consequences of micromobility usage for respective emissions of the transportation system, however, is limited. To increase the knowledge about the effects, Fraunhofer ISI has conducted a new study that aims to present a snapshot of case studies in six cities around the globe (Berlin, Dusseldorf, Paris, Stockholm, Melbourne and Seattle) and collects the data of shared micromobility users with a total sample size of 4,167 individuals. The data was provided by the shared micromobility provider Lime. To calculate the emission impact of the individual’s behaviour, existing LCA data was combined with the latest generation shared Lime e-scooters and e-bikes by Anthesis on behalf of Lime, and both were adjusted to the characteristics of the cities in question.

    Shared e-scooters and e-bikes can help to reduce carbon emissions
    The study’s findings show that the latest generation of shared e-scooters and e-bikes can reduce net carbon emissions. These are defined as the differences between the life cycle assessment emissions per passenger kilometre (pkm) of the shared micromobility mode and the modes people would have used if shared e-scooters or e-bikes would not have been available. This analysis was carried out for transportation systems in the six surveyed cities: The largest effects for shared e-scooters are observed in Melbourne (-42.4 g/pkm) and Seattle (-37.7 g/pkm) which can be explained by a considerably higher CO2 intensity of electricity used for public transport and electric cars compared to the European cities. But also Dusseldorf (-22.1 g/pkm), Paris and Stockholm (-20.7 g/pkm) show effects of reduced emissions while e-scooters in Berlin show smaller reductions (-14.8 g/pkm). In all cities, the net carbon impact of shared e-bikes is less beneficial than shared e-scooters. Large emission reductions are estimated for Dusseldorf (-20.4 g/pkm), Paris (-15.4 g/pkm), Seattle (-15.2 g/pkm), and Melbourne (-13.7 g/pkm), while the estimated emissions for Berlin increase (+13.0 g/pkm). This can be explained due to smaller shares of shared e-bike trips replacing individual motorized modes and by their lower usage intensity compared to shared e-scooters.

    A deeper analysis at the transportation mode level helps to further explain the effects observed at the city scale for all locally available Lime services. For this task, the study estimated total emissions by upscaling the survey assessment with usage patterns for the study period (May and June 2022) provided by Lime. In fact, the largest differences in net emissions by replaced modes originate from ride-hailing or taxi services (-679.3 and -541.0 g CO2 equivalents per trip for shared e-bikes and e-scooters respectively) and personal combustion cars (-334.6 and -272.9 g). When shifting from these highly emitting modes to shared micromobility, the net emissions reduction is quite substantial. On the other hand, shared micromobility can also lead to increased emissions when for example personal e-bike usage (+126.3 and +18.8 g) and walking (+109.9 and +39.4 g) is replaced by using a shared e-scooter or shared e-bike, or when a trip that would not have taken place before is now undertaken with a shared e-scooter or e-bike (+65.6 and +199.3 g). However, the increase in emissions tends to be smaller than the reduced emissions of the previous mode shifts.

    Konstantin Krauss, a mobility researcher at Fraunhofer ISI and co-author of the study, states: “Our results show that the crucial factor for the net impacts of shared micromobility is the number of trips replacing the highest-emitting transportation modes such as ride-hailing and trips with combustion cars in comparison to induced, active mode, and public transport trips. For all results, however, we need to consider uncertainty in the stated – not observed – responses of the participants and a range of uncertainties of +/-25% in LCA numbers: The applied LCA numbers are estimates also based on assumptions for factors such as vehicle lifetimes or operations. For the responses of the riders, we use the stated preferences of the respondents only, so we did not observe their real mode shift behaviour. Moreover, the question of how the currently progressing electrification of car, bus, taxi and ride-hailing fleets will decrease the impact of micromobility to net climate impacts remains open.

    Recommendations for industry, micromobility providers, and city planners
    But what can be done to further enhance the sustainability benefits of shared micromobility? Dr Claus Doll, Fraunhofer ISI mobility expert and co-author of the study, has the following recommendations for industry, micromobility providers, and city planners: “On the one hand, the industry should further extend vehicle lifespans, continue to decarbonize manufacturing by contributing to a circular economy, and use partnerships to induce favourable mode shift from taxi, ride-hailing and personal cars. And on the other hand, providers and city planners should jointly work towards a better connection of micromobility and public transport by for instance establishing mobility hubs and reliable intermodal travel planning tools for seamless transfers.” He adds that the shift effects from public transport and walking to shared micromobility should be kept at a minimum.

    Andrew Savage, Vice President for Sustainability at Lime, underlines the strides Lime and the industry have made in decarbonizing their service over a short timespan: “The examples of the six cities show that shared e-scooters and shared e-bikes can help to make cities more sustainable and liveable by reducing emissions and expanding the mobility offer. The findings underscore the important work we must continue to decarbonize our supply chain, operations and facilities so that shared micromobility will continue to reduce the carbon footprint of urban mobility.

  9. EP votes ICE-cars and vans out by 2035

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    In a plenary vote on 8 June, Members of the European Parliament adopted their position on proposed rules to revise the CO2 emissions performance standards for new cars and vans with 339 votes in favour, 249 against and 24 abstentions.

    With the adopted text, which constitutes Parliament’s position to negotiate with member states, MEPs support the Commission proposal to reach zero-emission road mobility by 2035 (an EU fleet-wide target to reduce the emissions produced by new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% compared to 2021). Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 would be set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans.

    Additional details of Parliament’s proposed measures are available here.


    Rapporteur Jan Huitema (Renew, NL) said: ‘An ambitious revision of CO2-standards is a crucial part of reaching our climate targets. With these standards, we are creating clarity for the car industry and can stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers. In addition, purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am thrilled that the European Parliament has backed an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and supported a 100% target for 2035, which is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050.’

    Next steps

    MEPs are now ready to start negotiations with EU member states.


    On 14 July 2021, as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, the Commission presented a legislative proposal for a revision of the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The proposal aims to contribute to the EU 2030 and 2050 climate objectives, to deliver benefits to citizens by deploying zero-emission vehicles more broadly (better air quality, energy savings and lower costs for owning a vehicle), as well as to stimulate innovation in zero-emission technologies.

    Photo by Matt Boitor on Unsplash

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