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Europe’s transport sector: Aviation and shipping face big challenges in reducing environmental impacts

A massive shift in innovation, consumer behaviour and the take up of more ambitious green technologies to power aircraft and sea-faring cargo ships will be crucial to reducing their long-term carbon footprint. A European Environment Agency (EEA) report says incremental measures such as improving fuel efficiency to cut emissions will not be enough for the aviation and shipping sectors to meet European greenhouse gas emissions and sustainability targets.

Europe's Transport Sector
Bild: EEA 2018

The EEA published two reports on Europe’s transport sector. Aviation and shipping is the focus of the latest EEA ‘Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM)’ report. The two sectors have seen tremendous growth over past years amid a boost in economic growth, which has stimulated international trade and travel. However, the sectors have come under increased scrutiny over their rising emissions and how they can meet European Union decarbonisation goals.

By 2050, global aviation and shipping together are anticipated to contribute almost 40 % of global carbon dioxide emissions unless further mitigation actions are taken. Further, transport, including aviation and shipping, continues to be a significant source of air pollution. It is also the main source of environmental noise in Europe and contributes to a range of environmental pressures on ecosystems.

The use of diesel fuel continues to dominate across the EU, according to the second report ‘Fuel quality in the EU in 2016’. In 2016, 71.8 % (257 206 million litres) of fuel sales in the EU was diesel and 28.2 % (100 838 million litres) was petrol. Diesel sales increased by 3.8 % from 2015, whereas petrol sales remained almost unchanged. The fuel quality report gives the latest annual update on the volumes and quality of petrol and diesel used for road transport. Each year EU Member States report this information under requirements set out in the Fuel Quality Directive.

Quelle: EEA (2018): Europe’s transport sector: Aviation and shipping face big challenges in reducing environmental impacts. European Environmental Agency.