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Europe

European Transport Ministers Agree Ambitious New Climate Targets

EU Transport Ministers today agreed on a range of legally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector in the coming decade. The new measures, which are to apply to all Member States, have been negotiated over the last 12 months. With this agreement, the stage is set for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text of these important pieces of legislation.

It includes the roll out of an extensive network of publicly available electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities, to ensure that EV drivers no longer need to be concerned about range or access to charging points. The Irish Government has already committed €100 million to develop a nationwide network of charging points in rural and urban areas by 2025. Also agreed are new technical standards and mandatory targets for EU airlines’ use of sustainable aviation fuels, and new binding targets for GHG reductions in shipping. These measures have been agreed under the EU’s “Fit for 55” package – the flagship suite of legislation announced last July to ensure the bloc meets its 2030 climate targets. The Union is aiming for a minimum 55% reduction in GHG emissions, compared to 1990 levels.

Welcoming the agreement reached, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan stressed the importance of the progress made by stating:

“This agreement is the result of almost a year of intensive discussions. It is imperative that the EU puts ambitious targets in place if we are to meet our collective goals for the climate. Action is urgently needed, not only for road transport but also to realise genuine emission reductions in aviation and shipping. Today’s agreement shows that the EU can be the global leader on climate change.”

Minister Ryan noted that while Ireland had pushed for even greater ambition in certain aspects of the maritime and aviation fuel files, the Council-agreed texts represent a strong step forward in transitioning towards more sustainable fuels in both sectors.

The Minister also referred to another important transport file under the Fit for 55 package on which Ireland has been advocating for high ambition:

“EU Transport Ministers have today agreed an unprecedented programme of investment in electric charging facilities across the European road network. We need to reinforce this with a strong signal to car and van manufacturers to ensure the rapid supply of zero carbon vehicles. At the Environment Council later this month, Ministers will aim to agree on revised CO2 standards for cars and vans. The phase-out of internal combustion engines in new vehicles is a vital part of this process, and we need to make all efforts to agree an ambitious timeline for this critical milestone.”