The ‘Fit for 55’ package offers an opportunity to coherently flesh out the EU’s climate policy for transport and give it a long-term foundation. A current VDA position paper outlines a clear and realistic strategy for a path to climate-neutral transport.
“Our goal is climate-neutral mobility – in harmony with the Paris Climate Goals. The ‘Fit for 55’ package must lay the foundations for faster implementation of the combination of innovations, investment and infrastructure throughout Europe. It is crucial that European climate policy also drives growth and prosperity and creates jobs,” explained VDA President Hildegard Müller.
The key short-term task is to rapidly create the right conditions for successful electric mobility right across Europe. “The accelerated expansion of an infrastructure of charging pillars throughout Europe is an important basic condition for companies being able to achieve new targets. On July 14, the European Commission should use the package to present a clear schedule with specific targets and plans for realizing the charging-pillar infrastructure across Europe. The EU’s climate policy will only be credible with these measures,” according to Müller. In addition, climate-neutral electricity is essential if Europe’s motorists are to embrace e-mobility with confidence.
Furthermore, it remains important to embrace all technologies. “To continue reducing the CO2 output of the vehicles already in use, electric mobility must be ramped up but biofuels and e-fuels will also be needed. In 2030 there will still be many vehicles with combustion engines on the roads – around 1.5 billion of them worldwide and 421 million in Europe alone! Options must be in place for running them on climate-neutral fuels wherever possible, as early as possible,” Müller said. We will need both electricity and fuels from sustainable sources if we are to attain our common goal of zero-emission mobility. For this reason, the European Commission should propose ambitious requirements for 30% renewable fuels in 2030.
In the medium term, the transport sector should be integrated stepwise into the EU Emissions Trading System. After 2030, as the central instrument for reaching the climate goals, this should become the leading instrument for achieving climate neutrality in transport. It makes sense to have a two-stage procedure for the reduction pathway. In the first stage, fuels will be included in a specific emissions trading scheme for transport (upstream emissions trading). This can, after a defined transition phase, be incorporated into a unified European Emissions Trading System. This two-stage scheme offers an opportunity to adjust the system. “Market-economy instruments currently play far too small a role in achieving the climate goals. Extending the EU Emissions Trading System to include the transport sector is an important move that should be undertaken step-by-step. In this way, we will be able to minimize the release of greenhouse gases within the European Union in a manner that is efficient for national economies,” Müller stated.
Moreover, the VDA categorically rejects a fixed date for eliminating certain technologies, and direct or indirect bans. All technologies will be required. Several studies show that in Germany alone, at least 100,000 people directly employed in the automotive industry will be affected by the transformation in the period up to 2030. Industrial policy must be shaped to secure jobs – throughout Europe and in many regions. The ‘Fit for 55’ package has to provide specific responses to this challenge. The objective must be the successful transformation of the value chains.
When it elaborates the climate package, the European Commission must always remember that mobility is a fundamental right, essential for participation in society. “We have a responsibility for the climate, but also for the employees and their families. Sustainability takes account of the various needs. The transformation must therefore proceed in a manner that is socially acceptable,” Müller said.