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European Environment Agency Report on the Transportation Dilemma

GHG emissions from transport in the EEA-31 (all EEA members except Cyprus) between 1990 and 2002

A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) highlights the 22% increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector between 1990 and 2003—a period during which emissions from other sectors decreased.

The report, Transport and Environment 2005: Facing a Dilemma, shows that more goods and passengers are being transported farther and more frequently across Europe.

Ireland is the extreme example, with an increase of 130% in greenhouse gas emissions from transport—excluding aviation and maritime—reflecting its economic growth. Germany, on the other hand, has experienced only a 5% increase, consistent with its economic experience.

Emissions from air passenger transport grew at the fastest rate (96% between 1990 and 2002), while the share of road and rail remained constant.

Transport, especially road transport, is becoming cleaner because of increasingly strict emission standards and improved technology. However increases in demand continue to outstrip positive innovations. We are locked into patterns that are not easily changed in the short term. Long term policy initiatives are needed to encourage people to change their habits.

—Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA

The concern is not just greenhouse gas emissions, but air quality pollutants as well. The report foresees that many European cities will continue to fail air quality limits.

Ozone incidents are frequent now, and air quality limits set for ozone in 2010 are widely exceeded already. The impacts on health are severe: estimates suggest that as many as 370,000 people die prematurely every year in Europe due to air pollution.

The report anticipates that the use of biofuels on a scale where it will significantly reduce total greenhouse gas emissions will not be a reality for many years. In the meantime, transport will continue putting pressure on the continent’s environment, the report says.

The report delivers ten key points:

  1. Freight transport volumes grow with no clear signs of decoupling from GDP. More goods are transported farther and more frequently. This results in increased CO2 emissions and slows the decline in air pollutant emissions. Relative decoupling of growth in freight volumes from economic growth has only been achieved in the EU-10, where the growth in GDP exceeds the high growth in transport volume.

  2. Passenger transport volumes have paralleled economic growth. Passenger transport volumes have grown in most Member States.

  3. Greenhouse gas emissions from transport are growing. Transport’s energy consumption (and its emission of greenhouse gases) are increasing steadily because transport volumes are growing faster than the energy efficiency of different means of transport. The increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport threatens European progress towards its Kyoto targets. Therefore, additional policy initiatives and instruments are needed.

  4. Harmful emissions decline, but air quality problems require continued attention. Transport, especially road transport, is becoming cleaner because of increasingly strict emission standards for the different transport modes. Nevertheless, air quality in cities does not yet meet the limit values set by European regulation and still has a major negative impact on human health.

  5. Road freight continues to gain market share. Road transport has gained a greater and rising share of the freight market. This development constitutes a move farther away from the EU objective of stabilizing the share at its 1998 level.

  6. Air passenger transport grows, while the share of road and rail remain constant. Changing the modal split towards rail transport and away from passenger cars is not being achieved. Both modes are growing at the same rate as total passenger transport volume. In addition, the share of aviation is increasing whereas the share of bus and coach is decreasing.

  7. Developments in fuels contribute to emission reductions. All countries where data are currently available have met the 2005 limit value for low sulfur content in road transport fuels. The remaining ones are expected to hit their targets as well. In addition, some countries have already achieved the 2009 target on zero sulfur fuels. Moreover, steps towards sulphur reduction are being taken in other modes. However, much work remains to be done. The share of biofuels is increasing, although currently reported shares are below the targets of the biofuels directive.

  8. Car occupancy and lorry load factors decline in countries for which data are available. Data where available on occupancy rates and load factors show average occupancy rates for passenger cars are lower than a decade ago. Growing car ownership, the decreasing average size of households and disperse spatial patterns are the main causes for low occupancy rates. The limited data available also show a trend towards poorer use of heavy goods vehicle capacity. Apparently, the higher transport costs, resulting from lower utilization, are exceeded by benefits such as reduced production costs.

  9. Eea_ghg2
    Comparison of international greenhouse gas emission standards for new passenger cars.
    New technology can cut emissions and fuel consumption, but more effort is needed to achieve CO2 targets. New engine and vehicle technologies have entered the market, reducing pollutant emissions and improving fuel efficiency. Although the fuel efficiency of passenger cars has improved in recent years, more effort is required from car manufacturers to meet the goals of the voluntary CO2 commitment.

    Additional effort will be required by all stakeholders to achieve the EC objective of 120g of CO2/km.

  10. Price structures are increasingly aligned with and yet well below external costs level. There are a number of initiatives to align price structures better with the external impact of transport. However, transport prices are generally well below the marginal social cost level. This is resulting in over-consumption of transport.




Too bad. I'm sorry to see that Europe is not as green as I thought. Volume is fighting fuel efficiency. Need to redouble their efforts to get people out of their cars. Has public transport deteriorated or are people driving despite excellent alternatives available.

Rafael Seidl

t -

as indicated, passenger rail transport (presumably including subways and trams) is maintaining its share of an expanded transportation market. People are becoming more affluent, more so in some countries than others, and mobility is correlated with affluence.

It is extremely hard to persuade anyone not to buy a car and even harder to get them to use public transport once they have it. In this regard, Europeans are just like everyone else. It also illustrates the need to focus on motor vehicle fuel economy/CO2 emissions.

There are, however, several policy and technology changes that could help address the GHG problem posed by the transportation sector:

(a) elimination of export subsidies intended to promote intra-EU trade. This applies especially in the agricultural and food processing sectors.

(b) investment to overcome technical impediments to rail freight, stemming from historical concepts of national security. The impediments include: incompatible rail gauges (Spain, Portugal), incompatible voltages & rotary frequencies (change of locomotive at every border), incompatible signalling, incompatible national timetables, lack of rail spurs into industrial zones, lack of rapid container transfer sites, state ownership & entrenched national trade unions.

Some 80% of all transnational freight in the EU is transported by trucks, because it takes too long to get there by rail (i.e. capital tied up in transit). Austria is particularly affected at the Brenner Pass near the Italian border. Attempts to load trucks onto rail carts have met with limited acceptance by the haulage industry. The Austrian railways have just introduced a locomotive that can operate on all European networks except on the Iberian peninsula.

(c) taxation of jet fuel and a prohibition of subsidies to discount airlines for flying into secondary airports.

(d) putting the long-term unemployed to work as sharecab drivers, supported by software and communications networks that dynamically optimize the routes. This must be coupled with hefty road tolls for entering city centers, such as London is already collecting.

Unfortunately, all of these sensible measures are opposed by powerful industry lobbies, voters, or both. As always, real change will only come slowly or as a result of an external shock to the system.

Robert Schwartz

"I'm sorry to see that Europe is not as green as I thought."

Even their bu11$h;t is brown.


I can't stop laughing. What? the euros facing a dilemma: how do we pull our as++s out of the economic doldrums and still meet the unrealistic kyoto procols? (Lower case to show disdain for the idiocy of kyoto) OOH that's gotta hurt! Some of you are going to have to cry yourself to sleep with this news.


Yes, it made me cry - George's comment. You got a problem with Europe? Let's fight it out in the streets. And what was the idea behind the Kyoto protocol again? I guess I forgot... But these damned hurricanes!

Rafael: Very interesting post, especially concerning the rail freight problem.

Joseph Willemssen

Please don't feed the juvenile trolls. Thank you.

john galt

Although the EEA report does not show a decline in greenhouse gases, I think the Euro zone is to be commended. It seems to the me that a good 90% of the research and innovation towards fuel efficiency improvements and exploration of biofuel and other renewable alternatives that are reported on the green car congress website is coming from the European continent. Innovative efforts we see from North America lag a great margin to those found in Europe and Japan. Perhaps fuel efficiency and emissions improvement should be a focus area in the air travel/transit, heavy truck, and rail transit/travel industries. I don't recall ever seeing an article where Rolls Royce, Boeing, et. al. has focused R&D toward improving the ecological impact of aviation powerplants.


Ecological impacts of flying?, fighting this out in the street?, the "idea" behind kyoto (as if having just an idea is good enough - that's what's referred to as a dreamer) Get real. If you don't like the ecological impact of flying don't fly. That goes for driving, too. Personally I don't care if Europe has 90% of the developments. If they come up with something worthwhile I'm sure they'll be more than happy to sell it to Americans. That's what makes capitalism so effective in solving these types of problems. As opposed to the marxist/leninist/ecoist model.
The comment that the Euro zone should be commended despite this report is the exact opposite of what this report says. Meaning: even the Euros aren't commending themselvs. So why are you?

john galt are a moron. I personally don't care about your mindless blather. Euros are taking advantage of capitalism while providing sustainable ways of providing transportation without continuing to f_ck up the environment. American firms only follow suit when they figure out they are at a severe competitive disadvantage by doing nothing. Are you the stereotypical texan that believes that all effort toward sustainable ecology is anti business and anti capitalism? Maybe you should post on the Fox news site versus here where there is thoughtful discussion about improving how transportation is excuted.


I'm surprisewd by your use of 3 periods after George. It seems as though you actually hesitated for a moment before calling me a moron. At least you gave me that much, John. I do appreciate you calling me a moron because I didn't want to be the first one slinging perjoratives around. But since you have labeled me let me apply a label to you : Useful idiot. (my second choice is willing dupe )
I reiterate the report shows that the euros are failing despite your blind attachment. May I also remind you that you have a choice of hybrids: a Toyota, a Honda and a Ford. There seems to be something missing from that list, John. Can you guess what it is?
Let me say that I do like Peugot's diesel hybrid but that won't be available until 2010.
There is NO proof that global warming is causing bigger huricanes. If a moron knows that what does that say about you?



Finally somebody have a guts to say what kioto/global worming is: Big Scum.
Personally I prefer to call it “bug Y3K”.

For anyone curious on the subject look, for example:

Sadly that people of Europe have to pay for this invention of their bureaucracy:
lions share of the reported 370 000 premature death from air pollution in Europe originates from exhaust of GHG-friendly diesel cars.



Thanks for the heads-up Andrey. I checked out the FOS website. Another arrow in my quiver.


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NREL Study Highlights Emissions and Fuel Economy Benefits of CNG Over Diesel Buses
15 March 2006
Buses running on compressed natural gas have been a leading cleaner alternative to diesel-powered transit, and as such CNG buses and infrastructure were adopted by a number of transit agencies. The improving baseline emissions of comparable diesel buses with advanced emission control technologies has led to some questioning over whether or not CNG still retains its clean advantage. According to a recent study by NREL, it generally does.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) evaluated the emissions of twelve 40-foot, low-floor buses operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. These buses were of two types: CNG and low-sulfur diesel (approximately 17 ppm sulfur). All CNG buses had lean-burn natural gas engines and oxidation catalysts. All diesel buses had catalyzed particulate filters, and one group of diesel buses had exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).

The four test bus configurations included in the study were:

CNG buses with model year (MY) 2004 John Deere 6081H engines, equipped with oxidation catalysts;

CNG buses with MY 2001 Cummins Westport, Inc. (CWI) C Gas Plus engines, equipped with oxidation catalysts;

Diesel buses with MY 2004 Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) Series 50 engines, equipped with catalyzed particulate filters and EGR; and

Diesel buses with MY 2000 DDC Series 50 engines, equipped with catalyzed particulate filters.

The John Deere CNG buses produced 49% lower NOx emissions and 84% lower PM emissions compared with the MY 2004 DDC diesel buses, and 63% lower NOx emissions and 60% lower PM emissions compared with the MY 2000 DDC diesel buses.

The CWI CNG buses produced 6.1% higher NOx emissions and 60% lower PM emissions compared with the MY 2004 DDC diesel buses, and 23% lower NOx emissions and equal PM emissions compared with the MY 2000 DDC diesel buses.

In addition to showing the emissions advantage of CNG buses, the project showed promising fuel economy results for the CNG buses compared with the benchmark diesel buses. On a diesel-gallon-equivalent basis, the John Deere CNG buses exhibited a 9.0% fuel economy improvement compared with the MY 2004 DDC diesel buses and a 2.9% improvement compared with the MY 2000 DDC diesel buses.

The CWI buses exhibited fuel economy that was 4.2% higher than the MY 2004 DDC diesel buses and 1.6% lower than the MY 2000 DDC diesel buses. Both CNG engines use lean burn technology.

Relative Emissions and Fuel Economy Performance, CNG vs. Diesel
John Deere CNG CWI CNG
MY 2004 DDC MY 2000 DDC MY 2004 DDC MY 2000 DDC
NOx -49% -63% +6.1% -23%
PM -84% -60% -60% –%
Fuel economy -9% -2.9% +4.2% -1.6%

Overall, NREL concluded that the CNG buses show significant improvements in fuel economy and show progress toward meeting the increasingly stringent EPA emission regulations that all heavy-duty engines will have to meet in 2006–2010 and beyond.


Emission Testing of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Natural Gas and Diesel Transit Buses

March 15, 2006 in Diesel, Emissions, Fleets, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

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interesting. is there a percentage missing in the table, Mike?
what i don't really get is why the MY2004 DCCs had greater particulate emissions even though they had EGR in them?

Posted by: lensovet | Mar 15, 2006 10:23:32 PM

PM emissions from buses are particularly bad as they occur mostly during load transitions such as pulling away from a bus stop. Passengers that have just disembarked, especially children and senior citizens, are exposed to these emissions.

Btw, the 450 city transit buses in Vienna, Austria run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), with similar results as the more complex CNG systems used elsewhere. Unfortunately, many refineries prefer to sell their LPG to the chemical industry as a feedstock.

An alternative to switching to LPG or CNG is to radically downsize the diesel, equip it with a particulate filter and add a powerful hybrid electric system. This is especially appropriate for city buses and other heavy vehicles that need to make frequent stops. Diesel has the advantage of an existing distribution infrastructure.

Posted by: Rafael Seidl | Mar 16, 2006 2:10:00 AM

No figure is missing -- there was no difference in PM between the CWI CNG bus and the MY 2000 DDC bus.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 16, 2006 8:55:59 AM

It looks like every alternative to petrol and diesel has better emissions.

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Raisul Afsar Mahmud


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