Post-oil transport needs 1.5-trillion-euro overhaul: EU

Mar 28, 2011 by Roddy Thomson
EU commissioner for Transport Sim Kallas gestures during his press conference on the white paper on the future transport at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. Europe's transport network will need a 1.5-trillion-euro private sector overhaul to meet the demands of a post-oil, post-emissions world, the European Commission said Monday.

Europe's transport network will need a 1.5-trillion-euro private sector overhaul to meet the needs of a post-oil world and slash carbon emissions, the European Commission said Monday.

A new strategy for the sector launched by the commission aims to "dramatically reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil and cut in by 60 percent by 2050," the EU executive said.

But ideas for getting there put forward by the European Union's transport commissioner Siim Kallas attracted harsh criticism from the auto sector, small businesses and environmental campaigners who said they were pie in the sky.

Kallas set out what he called "very radical, very ambitious targets" established by the EU executive in a white paper on road, rail and sea network needs projected for 2050.

His vision included "close to zero fatalities" on Europe's roads, "zero" petrol or diesel cars in cities, and half of all intercity passenger and freight transport moving to rail or waterways.

"We are talking about the necessity of investment of 1.5 trillion euros," or $2.1 trillion, Kallas said.

He insisted he was taking his non-binding, non-legislative plans to industry and the private sector "with a certain hope" despite the "huge, huge and complicated question" posed by future public finance volumes expected to become increasingly limited.

The head of the ’s trade association ACEA said the new strategy was a major "U-turn," dismissing a principle that the most efficient means of transport should be the one favoured each and every time.

Ivan Hodac said the call to shift from road to rail or waterborne transport for distances longer than 300 kilometres (187.5 miles) disregards "the actual factors steering the choice of transport mode."

A European craft and small business employers’ organisation said this was unrealistic, citing "strong financial constraints" including an absence of tax incentives or other schemes to support investment.

Environmental campaigners Transport & Environment attacked the lack of immediate changes.

Hundreds of cars are stuck in traffic on Paris river banks in 2010. Europe's transport network will need a 1.5-trillion-euro private sector overhaul to meet the needs of a post-oil world and slash carbon emissions, the European Commission said Monday.

"The only concrete action the commission proposes within its current mandate (2010-14) is to expand airport capacity, which will make the headline targets even harder to reach," said director Jos Dings.

He said 13 billion euros of annual EU transport infrastructure spending should only go on environmentally "sustainable projects."

Other key targets are for 40 percent use of sustainable low carbon fuels in aviation and a cut in shipping emissions of at least 40 percent and a 50 percent shift away from conventionally-fuelled cars by 2030.

"We can break the transport system's dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. It can be win-win," Kallas also said in a statement.

Kallas wants to jolt the shipping sector into action, after a decade without agreement with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) over emissions cuts in the effort to control global warming.

"If the IMO will not take a decision, then we have to create our own approach," he said.

A combination of "operational measures, technical measures, including new vessel design, and low-carbon fuels" could suffice, he claimed.

The white paper also cites the completion of a single European sky of 58 countries and one billion inhabitants by 2020 as an opportunity to sharpen "competitiveness and climate goals" in negotiations with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

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freethinking
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 28, 2011
They will pay for this how? How about taxing every persons income who goes to green conferences 90%. That way, Al Gore and company will just stay at their air conditioned mansions enjoying their heated pools driving their monster cars, without coming up with crazy ways to hurt the economy, increase costs and lower the standard of living for the average person.
MarkyMark
1 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
They will pay for this how? How about taxing every persons income who goes to green conferences 90%. That way, Al Gore and company will just stay at their air conditioned mansions enjoying their heated pools driving their monster cars, without coming up with crazy ways to hurt the economy, increase costs and lower the standard of living for the average person.
Read the article its a European plan not Americas. On topic its not suprising that improving public transport in Europe would cost so much considering the lack of support and development that its had for at least a decade.
Loodt
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2011
It is not going to happen, so don't get upset.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
1.5 trillion, sounds low.

Freethinking, you do realize that the expense will necessitate products being made, and in turn people to make them who will take a salary and in turn pay taxes on that new salary.

Infrastructure projects create jobs and increase government revenue.