Cars, planes and ships buck EU’s trend for lower pollution


BRUSSELS • Pollution from transport in Europe is rising, data released yesterday show, putting the industry in the spotlight for tighter restrictions as policymakers struggle to rein in the pollutants damaging the atmosphere.

Transport is the only industry not to contribute to a 22% drop in carbon-dioxide emissions since 1990, the European Union (EU) said yesterday.

By contrast, pollution from supplying energy fell 32% over that period, the most marked decline.

The level of discharges from road transport increased 20% and emissions from international aviation more than doubled, according to a report published by the European Commission.

“In the transport sector, energy consumption and emissions decreased between 2007 and 2013, but are now roughly back at 2005 levels,” the commission said.

“The positive impact of efficiency policies has been outweighed by increased transport activity, and low-capacity utilisation in roadfreight transport.”

The EU wants to lead the battle against global warming and has toughened goals to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.

It intends to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

Also, it is seeking to boost the share of renewable energy to 32% and increase energy efficiency by 32.5%.

The EU said it remains at risk of missing its energy efficiency objectives for this decade, which call for a saving of 20%.

That’s because energy consumption began to increase due to weather variations, notably colder years 2015 and 2016, as well as increased economic activity and low oil prices, according to the commission.

“We need to intensify efforts to reach the 2020 target,” EU climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in a statement.

“Following a gradual decrease between 2007 and 2014, energy consumption has started to increase in recent years, and is now slightly above the linear trajectory for the target.” — Bloomberg