The climate impact of trucks
In 2015, at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21), 195 countries adopted the first legally binding global climate deal with the long-term aim of limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. The signatories also agreed that global emissions need to peak as soon as possible, and quickly decline thereafter.
Following on from the Paris Agreement, EU leaders agreed to cut GHG emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. This reduction translates into cuts of 43% in EU emissions trading system (ETS) sectors, and 30% in non-ETS sectors which include agriculture, building and transport.
Transport responsible for 25% of Europe’s GHGs
Transport is currently Europe’s biggest climate problem. Indeed, transport is the biggest non-ETS sector contributing 35% of total emission share and this share is expected to increase.
Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs), including trucks, buses and coaches, represent 5% of all European vehicles and yet are responsible for 26% of road transport emissions. CO2 emissions from trucks are currently around 19% above 1990 levels and on the rise. Without policy action, their emissions are predicted to increase by a further 10% between 2010 and 2030, and by 45% by 2050.
Already, the truck industry has made big efforts to make their trucks cleaner. The introduction of EURO Standards (starting with EURO I in 1992) regulating NOx and PM means trucks now pump out less toxic air pollution. Regulation has been a success for air quality; now that same approach is needed for climate emissions.
Put simply, standards that reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions must come next.