Written by Marketa Pape
Graphics by Eulalia Claros
International efforts to keep global warming below 2˚C and avoid catastrophic climate change require systematic cuts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all areas of human activity.
Transport currently accounts for about a quarter of EU GHG emissions, making it the second highest emitting sector after the energy industries. While in other sectors, GHG emissions have been decreasing, in the transport domain they have risen by as much as 30% over the past 25 years. Tackling growing emissions has become a matter of urgency. EU measures to cut emissions from transport focus mostly on carbon dioxide (CO2) as the main GHG.
While at international level the EU strives for a global approach and adoption of binding targets by the relevant regulatory organisations, it has also set its own internal targets and put policies in place to reduce GHG emissions from individual transport modes. These include an emissions trading system, binding standards for new engines, rules for fuel quality and promotion of alternative fuels.
Worldwide, the imperative to reduce emissions has led many countries and cities to adopt their own legislation or put concrete measures in place, some of which are being shared, adapted and replicated.
The European Parliament continues to play an active role in promoting low-carbon transport and supporting ambitious climate policies. An EP delegation will take part in the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, starting on 30 November 2015.