EC told to develop transport CO2 footprint rules

The European Commission should propose a common methodology for calculating the carbon footprint of transport services, according to respondents to a recent consultation.

Over 60% of respondents said they would support a common EU carbon footprint methodology. But less than half want a mandatory standardised approach or a voluntary EU label with minimum requirements.

Any EU action should be regarded as an intermediate step towards establishing a global methodology or a labelling scheme, the respondents said.

The consultation, which closed in June, sought views on how carbon footprint measurement could be standardised at EU level for both freight and passenger transport services. This is an objective of the 2011 White Paper on Transport, which sets out environmental goals for the sector.

A mooted mandatory requirement to report emissions did not gain majority support, with respondents stating that this could reveal sensitive data on energy and fuel efficiency.

Respondents argued that carbon footprinting of transport services will in future provide important incentives to improve efficiency. The effectiveness of the measure is currently limited by the many tools and standards in use, which make it impossible to compare carbon footprints.

Benchmarking the emissions performance of different transport services could promote less-polluting modes, reduce total fuel consumption and stimulate the alternative fuels market. But it could also increase the administrative burden on companies and increase transport prices, respondents said.

The Commission is planning to publish a strategy paper on decarbonising transport in the first half of 2016.

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