We should stop thinking of transport in terms of individual modes and regard it more as a network, Siim Kallas, EU vice-president and commissioner for transport has told a joint EESC-EC Conference on the White Paper on Transport.
The EU has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. To achieve that, transport will have to make deep cuts in its own emissions over the medium term.
“Shifting the type of transport use is a core element of the commission’s recent White Paper, and represents a major change in focus and attitude,” said Kallas.
“Just one example: we have set targets for 30 per cent of road freight over 300 km to transfer to other transport modes such as rail or waterborne by 2030, and more than 50 per cent by 2050 – though I should point out that given the likely large increase in total freight volumes, road traffic will certainly still grow.
“If we do not work towards achieving targets like these, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to decarbonise Europe’s transport system. We only have to look at the pollution caused by long-distance vehicles carrying freight on the roads instead of by rail, to see the problem. But if we manage to decarbonise, at the same time we will be making better use of our cities by reducing congestion and making them cleaner places to live,” he said.