In a joint letter to the European Commission the European transport associations, CER, EIM, ERFA, T&E, UITP and UNIFE call for an ambitious strategy to tackle rising Green House Gas emissions from the transport sector (from 1990 – 2013 GHG emissions have risen by 20%).
Major opportunities to decarbonise transport must be grasped within all modes, but also with a focus on shifting to cleaner modes. A modal shift to rail in particular for medium and long distance passenger and freight transport can play a major role in reducing CO2 emissions from the transport sector. As a starting point the joint letter to the European Commission calls for the 60% GHG reduction target for 2050 to be confirmed in EU legislation. Transparent reporting mechanisms must also be established to monitor Member States’ efforts and incentivise them to achieve progress. To promote more sustainable transport options the letter calls in particular for a level playing field in infrastructure charging between all modes. As a priority, time-based vignettes should be phased out and the external cost component of road tolls should be mandated.
The letter also recognises the importance of rail’s performance as part of an effective strategy to decarbonise transport. Customers do not choose transport mode on the basis of EU policy priorities, but on performance and quality. On-going efforts to enhance rail’s performance must be supported alongside greater rail competitiveness and customer-orientation.