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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 17-Dec-2020

Analysis

United Airlines pledges to reduce 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

British Airways and ZeroAvia enter agreement for hydrogen-powered aircraft exploration

Dallas Fort Worth Airport: Absolute carbon emissions reduced by 79% since 2010

UK Climate Change Commission provides key recommendations for Sixth Carbon Budget

European Commission outlines aviation decarbonisation targets

Summary
  • United Airlines pledges to reduce 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • British Airways and ZeroAvia enter agreement for hydrogen-powered aircraft exploration.
  • Dallas Fort Worth Airport has reduced absolute carbon emissions by 79% since 2010.
  • UK Climate Change Commission provides key recommendations for Sixth Carbon Budget.
  • European Commission outlines aviation decarbonisation targets, including carbon pricing and sustainable aviation fuel initiatives.
  • CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news.

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

United Airlines pledges to reduce 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

United Airlines pledged (10-Dec-2020) to reduce 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In order to reduce emissions, United will make a multimillion dollar investment in 1PointFive, a partnership between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital Management that utilises atmospheric carbon capture technology (called Direct Air Capture) to physically remove CO2 from the air.

The carrier will also continue to invest in sustainable aviation fuel.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby explained: "I recognize our responsibility in contributing to fight climate change, as well as our responsibility to solve it... These game-changing technologies will significantly reduce our emissions, and measurably reduce the speed of climate change - because buying carbon offsets alone is just not enough".

United's commitment will help 1PointFive construct an industrial sized Direct Air Capture plant in the US, with a single plant expected to sequester one million tons of CO2 p/a. [more - original PR]

Original report: United Makes Bold Environmental Commitment Unmatched by Any Airline; Pledges 100% Green by Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions 100% by 2050

United Airlines today is taking its most ambitious step yet in leading the fight against climate change: pledging to become 100% green by reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 100% by 2050. United, which in 2018 became the first U.S. airline to commit to reducing its GHG emissions by 50% by 2050, will advance towards carbon neutrality by committing to a multimillion-dollar investment in revolutionary atmospheric carbon capture technology known as Direct Air Capture - rather than indirect measures like carbon-offsetting - in addition to continuing to invest in the development and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). With this unprecedented announcement, United becomes the first airline in the world to announce a commitment to invest in Direct Air Capture technology.

"As the leader of one of the world's largest airlines, I recognize our responsibility in contributing to fight climate change, as well as our responsibility to solve it," said Scott Kirby, United's chief executive officer. "These game-changing technologies will significantly reduce our emissions, and measurably reduce the speed of climate change - because buying carbon offsets alone is just not enough. Perhaps most importantly, we're not just doing it to meet our own sustainability goal; we're doing it to drive the positive change our entire industry requires so that every airline can eventually join us and do the same."

Investment in Direct Air Capture Technology

Rather than simply taking a conventional approach to decarbonization by relying solely on the purchase of carbon offsets, United intends to make a multimillion-dollar investment in 1PointFive, Inc., a partnership between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, a subsidiary of Occidental (NYSE:OXY), and Rusheen Capital Management. 1PointFive's mission is to curb the rise in global temperatures by physically removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air using Direct Air Capture technology licensed from Carbon Engineering.

Direct Air Capture technology is one of the few proven ways to physically correct for aircraft emissions, and can scale to capture millions and potentially billions of metric tons of CO2 per year. The captured CO2 will then be permanently, safely and securely stored deep underground by Occidental, a process certified by independent third parties. The commitment - the first to be announced in the aviation industry - will help 1PointFive build the first industrial-sized Direct Air Capture plant in the United States. A single plant is expected to capture and permanently sequester one million tons of CO2 each year, the equivalent of the work of 40 million trees, but covering a land area about 3,000 times smaller.

Investments in Sustainable Aviation Fuel

With up to 80% less lifecycle carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel, sustainable aviation fuel is the fastest and most effective way United is reducing its emissions. Among all airlines globally, United holds more than 50% of all publicly announced future purchase commitments to using SAF and has the longest history of using SAF of any U.S. airline. Last year, United renewed its contract with Boston-based World Energy, agreeing to purchase up to 10 million gallons of cost-competitive SAF. United has used this SAF to help sustainably power every flight departing its Los Angeles hub since 2016.

Additionally, United has invested more than $30 million in California-based sustainable fuel producer Fulcrum BioEnergy, which remains the single largest investment by any airline globally in a sustainable fuel producer.

Since 2016, United has used the most SAF of any airline globally and has flown:

  • 26 million passengers on flights powered with a SAF blend
  • 44 billion passenger-miles on flights powered with a SAF blend
  • 215,000 flights powered with a SAF blend

United's Commitment to the Environment

United's commitment to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 represents yet another leadership position the airline has taken to reduce its impact on the environment. United's significant environmental achievements include:

  • Becoming the first airline globally to incorporate SAF in regular operations on a continuous basis, marking a significant milestone in the industry by moving beyond test programs and demonstrations to the everyday use of low-carbon fuel in ongoing operations
  • In 2019, we committed $40 million toward an investment initiative focused on accelerating the development of SAF and other decarbonization technologies
  • Operating the Flight for the Planet in 2019, which represented the most-eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of commercial aviation
  • Becoming the first airline to fly with Boeing's Split Scimitar winglets, which reduce fuel consumption by an additional 2% versus standard winglets; United is the largest Scimitar winglet operator today, with nearly 400 aircraft equipped with these winglets
  • Becoming the first U.S. airline to repurpose items from the carrier's international premium cabin amenity kits and partnering with Clean the World to donate hygiene products to those in critical need
  • Eliminating non-recyclable plastic stirring sticks and cocktail picks on aircraft and replacing them with a more environmentally friendly product made of 100% bamboo
  • Continuing to replace its eligible ground equipment with cleaner, electrically powered alternatives, with nearly 45% of the fleet converted to date

United's Award-Winning Eco-Skies Program

United's award-winning Eco-Skies program represents the company's commitment to the environment and the actions taken every day to create a more sustainable future. Earlier this month, the Carbon Disclosure Project named United as the only airline globally to its 2020 'A List' for the airline's actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy, marking the seventh consecutive year that United had the highest CDP score among U.S. airlines.

In 2017, Air Transport World magazine named United its Eco-Airline of the Year for the second time since the airline launched the Eco-Skies program. Additionally, United ranked No. 1 among global carriers in Newsweek's 2017 Global 500 Green Rankings, one of the most recognized environmental performance assessments of the world's largest publicly traded companies.

British Airways and ZeroAvia enter agreement for hydrogen-powered aircraft exploration

British Airways and ZeroAvia entered (12-Dec-2020) an agreement to explore how hydrogen powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying.

ZeroAvia and British Airways will work remotely to explore the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero emission hydrogen to power the airline's future fleet.

The partnership forms part of IAG's industry leading Hangar 51 accelerator programme, and at the end of the programme, research and learnings from the process will be shared and the ZeroAvia and Hangar 51 teams will consider how the partnership will progress longer term.

British Airways CEO Sean Doyle stated: "In the short-term this means improving our operational efficiency and introducing carbon offset and removal projects, while in the medium to longer term we're investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and looking at how we can help accelerate the growth of new technologies such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft". [more - original PR]

Original report: British Airways Partners With Zeroavia To Speed Up The Switch To Hydrogen-powered Passenger Aircraft

British Airways has teamed up with ZeroAvia, a leading innovator in decarbonising commercial aviation, in a project to explore how hydrogen-powered aircraft can play a leading role in the future of sustainable flying.

  • ZeroAvia recently completed the world's first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft as it aims to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable aviation
  • Partnership with British Airways is part of parent IAG's Hangar 51 tech accelerator programme and reflects the importance the airline is placing on sustainability
  • Announcement comes in the week the airline retired its final 747 aircraft, four years earlier than planned, to make way for more fuel-efficient models

The collaboration, which reflects the importance of sustainability at British Airways, will see ZeroAvia embedded in the heart of the airline. The team will work remotely alongside mentors and experts to explore the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen to power the airline's future fleet.

In September 2020, ZeroAvia received global acclaim when it achieved a major technological breakthrough by completing the world's first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-size aircraft, which took off from Cranfield Airport. The Piper M-class six-seat plane completed taxi, take-off, a full pattern circuit, and landing.

The partnership forms part of IAG's industry leading Hangar 51 accelerator programme, which works with start-ups and scale-ups from around the world, providing them with an opportunity to develop and test their products on real world business challenges on a global scale. At the end of the programme, research and learnings from the process will be shared and the ZeroAvia and Hangar 51 teams will consider how the partnership will progress longer term.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: "British Airways is committed to a sustainable future and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In the short-term this means improving our operational efficiency and introducing carbon offset and removal projects, while in the medium to longer term we're investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and looking at how we can help accelerate the growth of new technologies such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft."

Louise Evans, Director of External Communications & Sustainability said: "We are very excited to partner with ZeroAvia and get a glimpse of a zero-emissions future using hydrogen powered aircraft. During the partnership, as well as assessing the environmental advantages of the technology, we will also be exploring the operational, commercial and customer experience improvements that can be achieved."

Sergey Kiselev, ZeroAvia's Head of Europe, said: "ZeroAvia's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to truly zero emissions flight and we believe hydrogen is the best way to quickly and practically achieve this. Earlier this year, we proved that passengers will soon be able to board an emissions free, hydrogen-powered aircraft for commercial services. In the years to come, we will scale that technology up to power larger aircraft over longer distances.

"We have found that in addition to improving the sustainability of flight, which is vital, hydrogen-electric technology has the potential to lower operating costs and improve the in-flight passenger experience. We are delighted to be working with British Airways, one of the world's iconic airlines, and the Hangar 51 programme to explore how hydrogen-electric aircraft can power the fleet of the future. That promising future is closer than ever."

In 2021, ZeroAvia expects to further demonstrate the credibility of its technology at longer ranges and using larger aircraft. The company expects to achieve the commercialisation of hydrogen-electric power for aircraft as early as 2023 with flights of up to 500-miles in up to 20-seater aircraft. By 2027, it plans to have powerplants in service capable of powering commercial flights of over 500-miles in aircraft with up to 100 seats and by 2030 more than 1,000-miles in aircraft with 100+ seats.

Both British Airways and ZeroAvia are part of the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between government and industry to drive forward the UK Government's net zero-emission ambitions for the aviation and aerospace sector.

Dallas Fort Worth Airport: Absolute carbon emissions reduced by 79% since 2010

Dallas Fort Worth international Airport announced (15-Dec-2020) the following sustainability achievements:

  • Reduced absolute carbon emissions by 79% since 2010;
  • Reduced carbon emissions by 83% per passenger while reducing overall electricity costs by 32% since 2010;
  • Goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030;
  • Purchasing 100% renewable electricity;
  • Increasing the amount of renewable fuel used in airport vehicles;
  • 57% of the natural gas used in DFW's fleet was renewable in 2020, reducing carbon footprint by over 6300 tons of carbon dioxide. The reduction is equivalent to removing over 1300 passenger vehicles from the road for one year;
  • 70% of the natural gas used in DFW's bus fleet is from renewables;
  • Converting terminal ramp lighting to LED lighting, estimated to save 4.4 million kWh of electricity per year and over USD200,000 in annual costs;
  • Utilising green building standards for all new construction;
  • Optimising energy efficiency of all existing facilities;
  • All five terminals have been retrofitted with efficient plumbing fixtures, which lowered customer water usage by 50% and saved more than five million gallons of water per month. [more - original PR]

Original report: DFW International Airport: A Sustainability Leader

DFW International Airport's (DFW) commitment to sustainable and socially responsible business practices remains steadfast. It has demonstrated that sustainability is good for business and has established a successful track record of reducing emissions, lowering operating costs, and driving economic value, all of which led to DFW becoming the first North American airport to achieve Carbon Neutral Status (2016) and largest carbon neutral airport in the world.

DFW's sustainability initiatives align with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are a blueprint for creating more sustainable cities. In 2019, DFW's initiatives advanced 16 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, an increase from 15 in 2018.

Key Initiatives
In 2020, DFW committed to an ambitious goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030, two decades ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendation to policy-makers.

• DFW has reduced absolute carbon emissions by 79% since 2010.

• Since 2010, reduced carbon emissions by 83% (per passenger) while simultaneously reducing overall electricity costs by 32%.

• Purchasing 100% renewable electricity.

• Increasing the amount of renewable fuel used in airport vehicles.

In 2020, 57% of the natural gas used in DFW's fleet was renewable, shrinking DFW's carbon footprint by over 6,300 tons of carbon dioxide. This reduction is equivalent to removing over 1,300 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
Currently, 70% of the natural gas used in DFW's bus fleet is from renewables. This initiative resulted in over $1M in annual O&M savings while significantly reducing fleet emissions.
• Converting terminal ramp lighting to LED lighting, estimated to save 4.4 million kWh of electricity per year and over $200,000 in annual costs.

• Utilizing green building standards for all new construction.

• Optimizing energy efficiency of all existing facilities.

• In 2019, windows near the Terminal D Duty Free and TGI Fridays locations were retrofitted with dynamic glass to reduce heating, ventilation and air conditioning loads and overall energy use while dramatically improving the customer experience. Dynamic glass is also the new standard for new facility construction, such as the Terminal D Extension and Integrated Operations Center (IOC).

• All five terminals have been retrofitted with efficient plumbing fixtures, which lowered customer water usage by 50% and saved more than five million gallons of water each month.

• Beginning in 2019, waste from construction projects, such as concrete debris, are recycled and reused in other airport projects.

The new Department of Public Safety (DPS) entry drive was constructed using aggregate generated from crushed slabs from the Runway 17C-35C rehabilitation project.
Runway 17C-35C rehabilitation achieved a 99.57% construction waste diversion rate. The project diverted a total of 112,788 tons of construction material from landfills.
The DPS Headquarters utilized 6,985 tons of recycled base material. This prevented generation of 197 metric tons of CO2e.
Partnerships and Recognition
• In November, DFW became the first airport in the world to achieve the new 4+ level in ACI's global Airport Carbon Accreditation Program. This level recognizes DFW's commitment to decarbonize its operations and achieve Net Zero Carbon emissions by 2030, 20 years ahead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) target of 2050.

• DFW is working with NREL (National Renewal Energy Laboratory) and using Artificial Intelligence to study how it utilizes interior spaces and consumes energy in other major systems (e.g., HVAC, lighting, baggage handling, eGSE charging, etc.) so it can then use those insights to optimize energy consumption, costs, facility operations and maintenance, and impacts to the local grid.

• In October, DFW was named to the 2020 Texan by Nature 20 (TxN20). The TxN20 is an official ranking that recognizes and celebrates the best work in conservation and sustainability coming from businesses operating in Texas. Texan by Nature is a non-profit organization, founded by former First Lady, Laura Bush.

• In November 2020, DFW was recognized as the only airport recipient of the 2020 United Nations Global Climate Action Awards in the "Climate Neutral Now" category, for its RNG initiative. This year's award-winning projects demonstrate leadership on climate action by nations, businesses, investors, cities, regions, and civil society as a whole.

• In 2019, the FAA Southwest Region presented DFW with the Environmental Achievement Award acknowledging partners in the industry who have demonstrated advocacy for both the environment and community.

• The United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change recognized DFW Airport as an official signatory of the "Climate Neutral Now" initiative. This pledge commits DFW to carbon neutrality through 2050.

• DFW partners with The Alliance to Save Energy 50x50 Transportation Commission, which is focused on reducing energy use in the transportation sector by 50% by 2050.

• DFW Airport ranks as the number one transportation partner on the EPA Green Power Partnership National Top 100 list.

• DFW Airport and Coca-Cola North America kicked off a sustainability partnership in 2019. The organizations share a common goal of increasing recycling rates of plastic bottles. Over 13 million plastic bottles are sold at DFW annually, equating to 330 tons of plastic.

UK Climate Change Commission provides key recommendations for Sixth Carbon Budget

UK's Climate Change Commission (CCC) stated (09-Dec-2020) its recommended pathway in its Sixth Carbon Budget report requires a 78% reduction in UK territorial emissions between 1990 and 2035, bringing forward the UK's previous 80% target by nearly 15 years. CCC stated the Sixth Carbon Budget can be met through four key steps:

  • Take up of low carbon solutions;
  • Expansion of low carbon energy supplies;
  • Reducing demand for carbon intensive activates;
  • Land and greenhouse gas removals. [more - original PR]

Excerpt from original report: Sixth Carbon Budget

The Sixth Carbon Budget report is based on an extensive programme of analysis, consultation and consideration by the Committee and its staff, building on the evidence published last year for our Net Zero advice. In support of the advice in this report, we have also produced:

  • A Methodology Report, setting out the evidence and methodology behind the scenarios.
  • A Policy Report, setting out the changes to policy that could drive the changes necessary particularly over the 2020s.
  • All the charts and data behind the report, as well as a separate dataset for the Sixth Carbon Budget scenarios, which sets out more details and data on the pathways than can be included in this report.
  • A public Call for Evidence, several new research projects, three expert advisory groups and deep dives into the roles of local authorities and businesses.

4. Key recommendations

Our recommended pathway requires a 78% reduction in UK territorial emissions between 1990 and 2035. In effect, bringing forward the UK's previous 80% target by nearly 15 years.

The Sixth Carbon Budget can be met through four key steps:

  1. Take up of low-carbon solutions. People and businesses will choose to adopt low-carbon solutions, as high carbon options are progressively phased out. By the early 2030s all new cars and vans and all boiler replacements in homes and other buildings are low-carbon - largely electric. By 2040 all new trucks are low-carbon. UK industry shifts to using renewable electricity or hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, or captures its carbon emissions, storing them safely under the sea.
  2. Expansion of low-carbon energy supplies. UK electricity production is zero carbon by 2035. Offshore wind becomes the backbone of the whole UK energy system, growing from the Prime Minister's promised 40GW in 2030 to 100GW or more by 2050. New uses for this clean electricity are found in transport, heating and industry, pushing up electricity demand by a half over the next 15 years, and doubling or even trebling demand by 2050. Low-carbon hydrogen scales-up to be almost as large, in 2050, as electricity production is today. Hydrogen is used as a shipping and transport fuel and in industry, and potentially in some buildings, as a replacement for natural gas for heating.
  3. Reducing demand for carbon-intensive activities. The UK wastes fewer resources and reduces its reliance on high-carbon goods. Buildings lose less energy through a national programme to improve insulation across the UK. Diets change, reducing our consumption of high-carbon meat and dairy products by 20% by 2030, with further reductions in later years. There are fewer car miles travelled and demand for flights grows more slowly. These changes bring striking positive benefits for health and well-being.
  4. Land and greenhouse gas removals. There is a transformation in agriculture and the use of farmland while maintaining the same levels of food per head produced today. By 2035, 460,000 hectares of new mixed woodland are planted to remove CO2 and deliver wider environmental benefits. 260,000 hectares of farmland shifts to producing energy crops. Woodland rises from 13% of UK land today to 15% by 2035 and 18% by 2050. Peatlands are widely restored and managed sustainably.

European Commission outlines aviation decarbonisation targets

European Commission outlined (09-Dec-2020) a series of measures to tackle climate impacts of European transport and achieve a 90% reduction in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. For the aviation sector, details include:

  • Emphasis on carbon pricing to internalise the cost of CO2 emissions, with the Commission to present a proposal to reduce ETS allowances allocated for free to airlines;
  • Implementation of the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Civil Aviation (CORSIA) through the revision of the ETS directive in 2021;
  • The upcoming 'ReFuelEU' aviation initiative will look to boost the production and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). The European Commission reportedly plans to increase the sustainable fuel target previously set, which included 5% of fuel share by 2030 and 60% by 2050 (Reuters, 10-Dec-2020);
  • Establishment of a renewable and low-carbon fuels value chain alliance;
  • More efficient traffic management through the Single European Sky to bring about further environmental gains;
  • Zero-emission 'large aircraft' to be ready for the market by 2035. [more - original PR]

Original report: Questions and Answers: Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

What are the key elements of this strategy?

The Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy is structured around three key objectives: making the European transport system sustainable, smart and resilient.

A clear path is needed to achieve a 90% reduction in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is the effort required from transport to ensure the EU becomes the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, as outlined in the European Green Deal. Digitalisation will become an indispensable driver for the modernisation of the entire system, making it seamless and more efficient, while further reducing emissions. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has shed light on the vulnerabilities of the single market and the need to strengthen its resilience.

The transition to a greener, smarter and more resilient mobility system should leave nobody behind. Mobility must be available and affordable for all, rural and remote regions must remain connected, and European transport must offer good social conditions to its workers and provide attractive jobs.

The strategy sets out an action plan of concrete policy measures, structured around 10 key areas for action ("flagships") areas that will guide the Commission's work in the years to come. It also sets out milestones that show where we want to be in 10 and 30 years from now.

Why is this strategy necessary?

While mobility offers its users many benefits, it is not without costs for our society. Negative effects such as greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, but also accidents and road crashes, congestion, noise, and biodiversity loss affect our health and wellbeing. Past efforts have not yet addressed these costs sufficiently.

Today, transport accounts for a quarter of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions and emissions have increased over recent years. Our goal of being the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and our -55% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030 requires more ambition in transport.

Europe also needs to use digitalisation and automation to further increase levels of safety, security, efficiency, reliability, and comfort, thereby maintaining the EU's leadership in transport equipment manufacturing and services, and improving our global competitiveness.

Transport was among the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and the crisis has caused healthy companies to lose jobs and revenue.. The strategy sets out much-needed reforms, policies and actions to support the sector in its recovery.

What milestones does the strategy set for 2030, 2035 and 2050?

Various milestones show the path to achieving our objectives of sustainable, smart and resilient mobility, such as:

By 2030:

  • at least 30 million zero-emission cars will be in operation on European roads
  • 100 European cities will be climate neutral.
  • high-speed rail traffic will double across Europe
  • scheduled collective travel for journeys under 500 km should be carbon neutral
  • automated mobility will be deployed at large scale
  • zero-emission marine vessels will be ready for market

By 2035:

  • zero-emission large aircraft will be ready for market

By 2050:

  • nearly all cars, vans, buses as well as new heavy-duty vehicles will be zero-emission.
  • rail freight traffic will double.
  • a fully operational, multimodal Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) for sustainable and smart transport with high speed connectivity.

KEY ELEMENTS PER MODEROAD: What is your vision on decarbonising road transport?

  • By 2030, there will be at least 30 million zero-emission cars and 80 000 zero-emission lorries in operation.
  • By 2050, nearly all cars, vans, buses as well as new heavy-duty vehicles will be zero-emission.
  • The 'polluter pays' and 'user pays' principles need to be implemented without delay in all transport modes.

The Commission will propose a revision of the CO2 standards for cars and vans by June 2021, and will also review the CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles by 2022.

The upcoming proposal for more stringent air pollutant emissions standards for combustion engine vehicles (Euro 7) will ensure that only future-proof, low-emission vehicles enter the market.

Measures such as carbon-pricing (in the form of possible inclusion in the EU Emission Trading System), taxation, road charging, and the revision of rules on the weights and dimensions of heavy-duty vehicles will contribute to increasing demand for low- and zero-emission vehicles. For alternative fuels, the strategy calls for large-scale deployment of sustainable renewable and low-carbon fuels without delay.

We also plan to adjust our roadworthiness legislative framework to ensure the lifetime compliance of vehicles with emission and safety standards. A single faulty vehicle can pollute our air more than several thousand clean ones.

RAIL: What are the main aspects regarding rail transport?

  • Traffic on high-speed rail will double by 2030
  • Rail freight traffic will increase by 50% by 2030 and double by 2050.
  • By 2030, rail and waterborne-based intermodal transport will be able to compete on equal footing with road-only transport in the EU.

Completing the TEN-T network, including the high-speed lines, will provide better connections along Europe's main corridors. Simplifying the use and purchase of cross-border tickets and improving passengers' awareness of their rights will make rail more attractive for customers.

The implementation of the Fourth Railway Package and opening rail markets to competition, will make railway operators more responsive to customer needs, and improve the quality of their services and their cost-effectiveness.

In 2021, the Commission will propose an action plan to boost long-distance and cross-border passenger rail services. To further reduce emissions, rail transport will need to be further electrified and, wherever this is not viable, the use of hydrogen should be increased.

For freight, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift to rail and inland waterways. Increased capacity, strengthened cross-border coordination and cooperation between rail infrastructure managers, better overall management of the rail network, and the deployment of new technologies such as digital coupling and automation will enable this.

The European Year of Rail of 2021 is an excellent opportunity for Member States, the Commission and the rail sector to put these issues in the spotlight.

WATERBORNE: What does the strategy foresee for decarbonising waterborne transport?

  • Zero-emission ocean-going vessels will become market-ready by 2030

A 'basket of measures' is needed to decarbonise maritime transport, where global actions remain critical for achieving significant reductions.

The share of alternative, zero and low-carbon fuels in waterborne transport will reach 7% by 2020.

Similar to aviation, waterborne transport has greater decarbonisation challenges in the next decades, due to current lack of market-ready zero-emission technologies, long development and life cycles of vessels, the required significant investments in refuelling equipment and infrastructure, and international competition in the sector.

EU legislation on ship recycling will be reviewed and the Commission will also propose to extend the EU Emission Trading System (EUETS) to the maritime transport sector in June 2021.

The upcoming FuelEU Maritime initiative will boost the production and uptake of sustainable maritime fuels, and the Commission will consider to establish a Renewable and Low-Carbon Fuels Value Chain Alliance.

Establishing clean ports as well as 'Emission Control Areas' in all EU waters is another priority, aiming at zero pollution to air and water from shipping for the benefit of sea basins, coastal areas and ports. For inland navigation, we will put forward the NAIADES III programme to tackle key challenges such as the need to complete links with the rail network, ensure climate resilient infrastructure, renew barge fleets and improve access to financing.

AVIATION: What are the main aspects with regard to decarbonising aviation?

  • large zero-emission aircraft will be market ready by 2035

A 'basket of measures' is needed to decarbonise aviation where global actions remain critical for achieving significant reductions. Aviation is facing similar decarbonisation challenges to those of waterborne transport.

In particular, carbon pricing is key to internalising the cost of CO2 emissions. For aviation, the Commission will present a proposal to reduce ETS allowances allocated for free to airlines. The Commission will also propose to implement the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Civil Aviation (CORSIA) through the revision of the ETS Directive in 2021.

The upcoming ReFuelEU Aviation initiative will boost the production and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, and the Commission will consider to establish a Renewable and Low-Carbon Fuels Value Chain Alliance.

More efficient traffic management through the Single European Sky can bring about further environmental gains. The Commission will propose measures to make our airports clean, by feeding stationed vessels and aircraft with renewable power instead of fossil energy for example.

SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY What is key to achieving the sustainability objective?

Under the European Green Deal greenhouse gas emissions from transport need to reduce by 90% to become climate neutral by 2050, and work towards our zero-pollution ambition. To achieve the systemic change we need to:

(1) make all transport modes more sustainable,

(2) make sustainable alternatives widely available in a multimodal transport system and

(3) put in place the right incentives to drive the transition.

Measures will include boosting the production, distribution and use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in transport, as well as supporting the replacement of existing fleets with low- and zero-emission vehicles. We also need to increase the number of passengers travelling by rail and commuting by public transport and active modes, as well as shifting a substantial amount of freight onto more sustainable transport modes, such as rail and inland waterways.

Lastly, we need to implement the 'polluter pays' and 'user pays' principles without delay in all transport modes, in particular through carbon pricing and infrastructure charging mechanisms.

How will the Commission ensure that the infrastructure needed for alternative fuels is in place?

The increased use of renewable and low-carbon fuels across modes must go hand-in-hand with the creation of a comprehensive network of recharging and refuelling infrastructure. Our ultimate goal is a dense, widespread network to ensure easy access for all private and business customers, regardless of the mode they operate in.

We will address this issue when revising the Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure, the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation and other policy instruments such as the recast Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

In addition, the 'Recharge and Refuel' European flagship under the Recovery and Resilience Facility seeks to build half of the 1 000 hydrogen stations by 2025 and one million out of 3 million public recharging points needed by 2030.

The Commission will also publish a strategic rollout plan outlining supplementary actions to support the rapid deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure across all modes.

What does the strategy foresee for mobility in cities?

Citizens expect progress with regard to air quality, traffic noise, congestion and road safety in their towns and cities.

In many cities mobility is shifting towards shared and collaborative services (shared cars, bikes, ride-hailing, and other forms of micromobility) facilitated by the emergence of intermediary platforms, thereby enabling the reduction of the number of vehicles in daily traffic.

Cities are and should therefore remain at the forefront of the transition towards greater sustainability in transport.

The strategy includes actions to make inter-urban and urban mobility more sustainable and healthy, by means of a revision of the Urban Mobility Package of 2013 for example.

The Commission will also engage with cities and Member States to ensure that all large and medium-sized cities that are urban nodes on the TEN-T network put in place their own sustainable urban mobility plans by 2030.

SMART MOBILITY What role does digitalisation play in modernising the transport system?

In the near future, we can expect the emergence and wider use of game-changing new mobility technologies, such as drones (unmanned aircraft) for commercial applications, autonomous vehicles, hyperloop, hydrogen powered aircraft and electric waterborne transport.

The European Commission will develop the framework to facilitate the development and deployment of digital tools and systems. We will work towards facilitating testing and making the regulatory environment fit for innovation, notably with regard to Artificial Intelligence.

We need to deploy new technologies to make the whole transport system more efficient, and our multimodal mobility seamless. The Commission is investing heavily in research and pre-deployment testing through funding instruments such as Horizon Europe, and Connecting Europe Facility.

Digitalisation and automation have also an important potential for further improvements when it comes to safety, security, reliability, and comfort, as well as maintaining the EU's leadership in transport equipment manufacturing and services, and improving our global competitiveness through efficient and resilient logistic chains.

European values, ethical standards, equality, data protection and privacy rules will be at the heart of these efforts, and cybersecurity will be treated with high priority.

What is the Commission proposing with regard to ticketing?

Planning multimodal journeys and purchasing the necessary tickets is often cumbersome, as a framework for EU-wide, integrated, multimodal travel information, ticketing and payment services is currently lacking.

By 2030, seamless multimodal passenger transport will be facilitated by integrated electronic ticketing.

To make this a reality, we need to overcome issues related to the availability and accessibility of data, sub-optimal cooperation between suppliers and vendors and an overall lack of interoperability, for example.

We will therefore examine whether data-sharing and selling arrangements are fit for purpose. For example, subject to compliance with competition law, airlines could sell more tickets for trains, coaches and other sustainable modes of transport, for subsequent legs of a journey. Starting in 2021, the Commission will propose regulatory measures to enable innovative and flexible tickets that combine various transport modes and give passengers true options for door-to-door travel.

How do you prevent digitalisation from putting jobs at risk?

The sustainable and smart transition will have an impact on jobs, training and the skills required in the future.

Some jobs may be at risk due to automation. At the same time, the ongoing digital transformation brings new opportunities, such as an improved working environment as well as completely new jobs that are more attractive for women and young people.

The Commission will issue recommendations for the transition to automation and digitalisation, and on means to mitigate any negative impact on the transport workforce. We need a credible path to ensure that the transition to the mobility system of the future is a just one.

RESILIENT MOBILITY How will transport become more resilient? What exactly does this mean?

Under resilience we highlight several important elements, such as:

  • to target the necessary recovery investments in infrastructure and fleets to modernise and green the sector.
  • to strengthen our European Single Market
  • the need for a just transition for both users and workers.
  • the need for transport and mobility to remain safe and secure.

The Coronavirus pandemic has shown how important and vulnerable our Single Market is, and the social, health and economic costs when free movement of people and goods is severely constrained or even curtailed altogether. The preservation of supply chains and a coordinated European approach to connectivity and transport activity are essential to overcome any crisis and strengthen the EU's strategic autonomy and resilience.

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