On cutting transport emissions, Europe gets high marks

Given the global energy picture, there is continued strong emphasis on fossil fuel use, in the transport sector especially, as its reliance on such is extremely heavy.1

“CO mixing ratio (ppbv) @ 850 hPa”

It was this startling piece of information, though, from the Nov. 2011 International Union of Railways (UIC) report High Speed Rail and Sustainability that caught my eye. The UIC wrote: “In addition, transport energy-related CO2 emissions are predicted to increase by 1.7% a year from 2004 to 2030.” From what I was able to discern, my presumption is the implication is worldwide.

Between 1990 and 2007, in European Environment Agency (EEA) countries greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from transport had been on the increase.2,3 However, from 2007 to 2010, GHG fell, attributed mainly to a weakening economy and an increase in the price of fuel.4

In the UIC report, meanwhile, it was emphasized, “Reducing transport emissions is therefore one of the most crucial steps in combatting global warming and securing our future.”5

Back to Europe, excluding international maritime operations, European GHG from transportation rose 26 percent between 1990 and 2010. Between 2009 and 2010, meanwhile, GHG declined four-tenths of a percentage point.

Really promising gains have come regarding releases of carbon monoxide (CO), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulates (PM 2.5) and sulfur oxides (SOx) into the air.

Generally speaking, between 1990 and 2010, for CO, NMVOC, NOx, PM 2.5 and SOx, the year-over-year numbers are trending negatively, meaning, with each successive year, negative impact by each of these pollutants on air quality has become less and less.6

Notes:

  1. International Union of Railways, High Speed Rail and Sustainability, International Union of Railways’ report, Nov. 2011, p. 14, http://www.uic.org/etf/publication/publication-resultat.php?domaine=5.
  2. Towards a resource-efficient transport system – TERM 2009: indicators tracking transport and environment in the European Union, EEA Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) Report, No. 2, 2010, European Environment Agency, Apr. 27, 2010, p. 15, http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/towards-a-resource-efficient-transport-system.
  3. The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM 2012: Transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe, EEA Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) Report, No. 10, 2012, European Environment Agency, Nov. 27, 2012, p. 16, http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/transport-and-air-quality-term-2012.
  4. Ibid.
  5. International Union of Railways, High Speed Rail and Sustainability, International Union of Railways’ report, Nov. 2011, p. 15, http://www.uic.org/etf/publication/publication-resultat.php?domaine=5.
  6. The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM 2012: Transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe, EEA Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) Report, No. 10, 2012, European Environment Agency, Nov. 27, 2012, p. 17, http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/transport-and-air-quality-term-2012.

Image at top: NASA

Leave a Comment

Share This