Our New Year’s Resolutions for the Reduction of Transport Emissions


Well before we started thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, the European Commission published on 16 December its work programme for 2015, based on 23 new initiatives built around 10 key policy priorities.

We can only applaud the targeted nature of measures envisaged and this new Commission’s desire for better regulation. We believe this commitment can help Europe meet its political objectives.

However this ‘to do list’ seems to be overlooking some crucial aspects, that we hope the Commission will address in the course of 2015.

Decarbonisation of the energy mix appears as a key building block of the new Energy Union currently being designed by the European Commission. At UNICA we want to make sure that reducing transport emissions plays a key role in bringing down overall emissions. And we are unsure of what the Commission is planning to undertake in this respect.

If we go back to the 2030 Energy and Climate Framework published a year ago, or even to the October European Council conclusions, there are only limited indications of how the EU will concretely reduce emissions in transport. Despite calls for a review of the 2011 Transport White Paper during parliamentary hearings – and the preparation of an own-initiative report on the topic by Wim van de Camp MEP, the Commission has so far remained silent on this particular point.

At UNICA we remain optimistic and would like to recommend some New Year’s resolutions to the Commission. We have gathered some thoughts in a new position paper on reducing transport emissions by 2030, where we call for EU policymakers to:

– Prioritise transport  as  part  of  the  measures of the 2030 package to  be  proposed in  2015, if  Europe  wants  to  be  credible  in  reaching  the  40%  GHG  reduction  target  agreed  in  October 2014;
– Extend and increase the target of the Fuel Quality Directive after 2020, as this would provide the right incentive to encourage road transport emissions reductions beyond efficiency gains (“EU  2030  Road  Transport Decarbonisation  Scenario  Analysis”, E4tech, 2014);
– Promote a more balanced approach to the biofuel dossier to reflect the real environmental performance of biofuels, both conventional and advanced;
– Promote a better incentive system for stimulating the production and consumption of advanced biofuels;
– Clarify how the 27% EU renewable target will also translate in concrete measures and incentives for biofuels in the EU transport fuel mix.

A new study developed by E4tech, presented at our event in November, clearly states that biofuels will remain an essential component for decarbonising transport and, in the scenario to 2030, they have the potential to contribute up to 30MtCO₂ emissions savings with a 10% FQD target, instead of 6%.

Something to bear in mind for the implementation of our New Year’s resolutions!

Géraldine Kutas

Géraldine Kutas

A seasoned professional specializing in international trade policy, Géraldine Kutas leverages over a decade of experience to strengthen UNICA’s activities across the European Union, the United States and Asia. She has a deep expertise in biofuels and agricultural policies, coupled with extensive exposure to multilateral and regional trade negotiations in agriculture. Ms. Kutas is the author and co-author of several international publications on these topics.

Before joining UNICA, she was a researcher and a professor at the Groupe d’Economie Mondiale at Sciences Po(GEM), Paris, and coordinator of the European Biofuels Policy research programme (EBP). Ms. Kutas has also worked as a consultant at the Inter-American Bank of Development and for agro-business firms.

Ms. Kutas has a Ph.D. in International Economics from the Institut d’Etudes Poliques de Paris and a Master degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, Washington DC.