Mark’s EU Week for Transport 

WattsUp indeed! or rather ‘what next’ after COP26?

We predicted that COP26 would be a stepping stone not a destination and sadly we were correct. But the UK Presidency deserves credit for reaching a consensus that takes the world nearer to the goal of tackling the climate crisis.

Overall the respected ‘Climate Action Tracker’ calculates that after COP26 we’re on course for a temperature rise between 2.4°C and 2.7°C, compared to a predicted 3.6 °C rise after Paris in 2015. Real progress, around 1.0°C, has been made. But there still remains a 1.0°C gap.

We could have done better, but unfortunately the conclusion was undermined by India and China, particularly in relation to coal. In fact the US-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s, adopted on the 10 November, used that ‘phase down’ not ‘phase out’ wording in relation to China, effectively sealing the fate of COP26 in relation to fossil fuel elimination.

As for transport, good progress was made on accelerating the transition to 100% zero emission road vehicles. Many, but not all, nations committing for example to a ban on the sale of fossil fuel car and vans by 2035 in leading markets and making them the ‘new normal’ by 2030.

There was positive action following the UKTiE letter to Alok Sharma, which encouraged him to ensure COP26 built on the success of the UK led G7 Leaders’ communiqué, in order to embrace an ambitious, strategic and holistic approach to transport decarbonisation, across all the modes, including public transport and active travel, and in particular recognising the need to boost investment, including in new charging and fueling infrastructure. The COP26 declaration on zero emission vehicles does indeed make a commitment to the need for a wider system transformation, including support for active travel and public transport.

On aviation and shipping whilst there was good progress, with the Clydebank Declaration on Green Shipping Corridors and the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition Declaration, there is still a lack of detail. In particular there is no clear decarbonisation pathway for aviation and shipping in the coming decade, essential if we are to keep the global temperature rise to less than 1.5°C.

Which means the EU’s Fit for 55 Package and the UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan will continue to set the international pace, in the absence of an overall global plan.

As someone once said, a lot done, a lot to do.
1. UKTiE letter to Alok Sharma and COP26 transport conclusions
Ahead of the COP26 Transport Day, UKTiE sent a letter to COP26 President Alok Sharma and Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps to suggest that the Presidency Programme on transport for COP26 go further, building on the success of the UK-led G7 communique.

While the Transport Day programme could have had a more holistic view and more needs to do be done to show that the transport sector can be mobilized into a climate leader, there were some key transport conclusions reached during COP26 that need to be celebrated as successes:

2. Fit for 55 Package begins legislative process
Following a resolution between the European Parliament Committees over division of competences, the European Parliament’s work has now officially begun on scrutinizing the Fit for 55 Package. Below is a list compiled by UKTiE on the Rapporteurs and Shadow Rapporteurs that will be overseeing the key transport files in the Fit for 55 Package in the TRAN Committee.

FuelEU Maritime

  • Jorgen Warborn MEP (EPP, Sweden)
  • Vera Tax MEP (S&D, Netherlands)
  • Elsi Katainen MEP (Renew, Finland)
  • Joao Pimento Lopes MEP (GUE, Portugal)

Sustainable Aviation Fuels

  • Soren Gade MEP (Renew, Denmark)
  • Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar MEP (EPP, Portugal)
  • Johan Danielsson MEP (S&D, Sweden)
  • Claire Daly MEP (GUE, Ireland)
Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive
  • Ismail Ertug MEP (S&D, Germany)
  • Jens Gieseke MEP (EPP, Germany)
  • Caroline Nagtegaal MEP (Renew, Netherlands)
  • Elena Kountoura MEP (GUE, Greece)

3.TRAN Committee this week
Today, the TRAN Committee is meeting and the agenda of the session shows that they will be discussing a study on ‘Alternative fuel infrastructures for heavy-duty vehicles’ and will be holding an exchange of views with Pat Cox, TEN-T Coordinator for the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor. The Committee will also discuss the EC-US Air Agreement, led by Rapporteur Maria Grapini MEP (S&D, Romania). The next and last TRAN Committee meeting of the year will take place between 1-2 December 2021.

4. UKTiE in 2022
UKTiE has a lot planned for 2022, with several key transport files entering the legislative process, and existing ones such as the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy still under discussion, there will be plenty of key EU transport legislation to keep an eye on. This legislation is bound to have an impact on the UK, and as such UKTiE is planning a visit by UKTiE members to meet with EU policymakers, key stakeholders and third country allies to deliver UK transport expertise to ongoing discussion in Brussels. If you would like to be a part of this, please to let us know and join us for what promises to be a busy 2022.

5. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable of key transport and supply chain developments in Europe. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:

  • 18 November 2021: Next ENVI Committee.
  • 1-2 December 2021: Next TRAN Committee.
Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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