lawmakers decide on the future of transport in the EU – EURACTIV.com

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Welcome to the Transport Brief! We hope the summer sun has given you some energy and that any vacation trip has been smooth enough.

Although the beaches are starting to empty, airline queues are shrinking and temperatures are getting colder, in Brussels the legislative agenda is heating up. The next few months will see major elements of the package of EU climate laws negotiated, which will shape transport policy in Europe for years to come.

As a quick reminder, here are the major pieces of the so-called “Fit for 55” legislation that will be dealt with in 2022, separated by area of ​​transport:

Truck transport: Those expecting an epic showdown between Council and Parliament over the fate of the internal combustion engine may be disappointed as the two legislative branches have internally agreed to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.

When it comes time to negotiate, the sticking point is likely to be over the role of e-fuels. The Council has added to its position a 2026 review clause that would require the European Commission to assess whether electrofuels, which are theoretically carbon neutral if made from green electricity, can be used to meet climate goals. of the EU.

Parliament, however, is less enthusiastic about using electric fuels in hybrid vehicles, arguing that scarce electric fuels should be reserved for hard-to-electrify modes of transport such as planes and ships.

Political hawks will also be keeping an eye out for the release of Euro 7 legislation, which sets standards for air pollution. The proposal is expected to be released later this year, after being postponed several times.

Aviation: Listen to those who chatter in the Brussels bubble about aviation and you’re likely to hear the word “SAF” more than once. Sustainable aviation fuels – made from electrofuels and some biofuels – are set to become a mandatory part of flying in the EU.

SAFs have the advantage that they can be blended with kerosene without requiring modifications to aircraft engines (at least up to 50%), so they are favored by industry as a means of reducing emissions.

The negotiations between the Council and the Parliament, which are due to start in September, will focus on two questions: what percentage of SAF should be in the energy mix? And what should the green light be given to the EU as SAF?

While Parliament wants 85% of jet fuel to be made up of SAF by 2050, the Council is sticking to the Commission’s original proposal of a 63% target. Which feedstocks for biofuels should be considered sustainable is also a matter of debate.

Maritime: To decarbonise the shipping sector, the EU has proposed targets that would reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of fuel over time.

Unlike the aviation sector, there is a wider range of fuels that can be used in ships. Much to the chagrin of environmental NGOs, this has left the door open for the maritime sector to use liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Environmental activists instead want lawmakers to boost adoption of green hydrogen and ammonia via the inclusion of mandatory multipliers and sub-targets.

The European Parliament is still considering its position on the FuelEU Maritime dossier. A debate on the subject should take place in the Transport Committee at the end of September.

For a full overview of what’s to come in EU transport legislation, check out the ‘Stories of the Week’ section.


Sunak pledges to end the war (on motorists)

Perhaps during the summer break, in a moment of self-flagellation, you decided to observe the news emanating from across the Channel.

HMS Brexit Britannia is looking for a new captain in its green and pleasant lands, with a host of future prime ministers emerging to succeed exiled leader Boris Johnson.

So far, the Conservative Party leadership race has been a depressing spectacle.

It seems the two favorites – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – believe the keys to 10 Downing Street will be handed over to the candidate who can make the nastiest comments towards anything considered vaguely tolerable by the left – BBC reporters , welfare recipients, immigrants. …

Of course, transportation is part of that rhetoric – particularly the supposed mistreatment of those behind the wheel. Rishi Sunak has pledged to be a pro-driver prime minister who will “end the war on motorists”.

“The UK is a nation that is passionate about driving, because driving offers freedom,” Sunak said in his comments. reported by Bloomberg.

“We need to stop making life difficult for the vast majority of people across the UK who rely on a car as their primary source of transport to healthcare, employment and other daily essentials. “

Under Sunak’s direction, low-traffic neighborhoods will come under review, while strict parking enforcement will be rolled back.

This harsh speech – presumably aimed at the conservative base – marks a break with the attitude of Boris Johnson.

For all his conservative good faith, Johnson had a soft spot for active travel. The former mayor of London was open to his praise the increase in cycle lanes in the UK, for example.

But a new era is dawning. If Sunak is crowned Prime Minister, the car, it seems, will regain its central place in British transport policy.


Paying the bill for hydrogen and electric planes

If you like problem solving, maybe a career in aeronautical engineering is right up your alley.

The goal of launching hydrogen-powered planes by the middle of the next decade, announced with great fanfare by Airbus, is a laudable goal. But there are serious technical challenges to overcome before carbon-neutral flight becomes a reality.

Electric planes are also facing problems. Battery-powered aircraft are likely to serve only regional routes, as the weight of the batteries and their limited power make them unsuitable for long routes.

And with this technology in place, the next challenge is to provide aircraft with a constant source of fuel.

To remain in liquid form, hydrogen must be stored at extremely low temperatures (about -252 degrees Celsius). It is also bulkier than kerosene, which means it requires a lot more space.

Upgrading European airports with cryogenic storage facilities and electric charging cables is going to be expensive. So who should foot the bill?

Airports are the obvious candidate to set up capital. But airlines are wary of this, fearing airport charges will rise dramatically as they try to recoup their investment.

Airlines are pushing lawmakers to strengthen the Airport Charges Directive, which provides regulatory oversight.

“The Airport Charges Directive in its current form does not really have enough teeth to ensure that these investments are properly considered, sized and costed. And you could end up in a situation where significant costs are passed on to airlines and, by extension, passengers via airport charges,” an A4E spokesperson told EURACTIV.

Read more about the debate in the “Stories of the Week” section.


Diplomats ease up on negotiations over ‘Fit for 55’ transportation laws

With positions on the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate laws largely set, the coming months will see the European Parliament and Council begin negotiations. The results of these inter-institutional squabbles will shape transport policy in the EU for decades to come.

Aviation industry eyes bill for hydrogen upgrades

The EU aviation sector is preparing to deploy electric and hydrogen-powered planes, which manufacturers say will hit the markets by 2035. But who would have to pay for the costly infrastructure upgrades needed to maintain these aircraft is a controversial issue for the industry.

Berlin transport sector emergency plan fails

Germany’s emergency plan to put the building and transport sectors on a path to climate neutrality has failed to meet its targets, according to the country’s expert-led Climate Council.

Electric scooter parking controversy is part of the ‘learning curve’, says Bolt

Branded shared vehicles, from electric scooters to cars, are now commonplace on the streets of European cities. But as the number of vehicles has grown, so has the scrutiny from regulators and citizens.

Paris to push ban on private jets at EU ministers’ meeting

Transport Minister Clément Beaune has said he is ready to put a ban on private jet flights on the agenda of the meeting of European transport ministers in October following public reactions to the emissions revelations. private jets of the rich French.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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