Clean cities start with ambition

By PitPoint CEO Erik Kemink

6-11-2017

What do London, Paris, Los Angeles and Cape Town have in common? These cities are metropolises and recently became role models for clean cities because of the way they approach clean transport. On October 23rd, twelve of these major cities agreed that they would only purchase zero-emission buses as from 2025. Furthermore, as part of this initiative, green environmental zones, where the use of fossil fuels is not tolerated, will be expanded. London, in particular, did not waste any time on the matter. On that same day, Mayor Khan announced that an extra road toll would be charged for pollution culprits like petrol and diesel cars. The road to clean transport and clean cities starts with ambition.

Paris Climate Agreement objectives

It is encouraging to see that cities set more ambitious goals than countries when it comes to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement objectives. At the same time, it is also worrisome. For example, look at the discussion that took place in the Netherlands in recent weeks, regarding the feasibility of the new government’s Climate Plan. Just get started already, I’d say.

With the ‘Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets’ initiative, the twelve cities show that relatively small steps can take you quite far. With the agreements that were made, they take the responsibility to give their roughly 80 million residents clean air to breathe. People deserve a better, and, more importantly, healthier living environment. Air quality is one of the main yardsticks for clean cities.

Clean CITIES ARE of vital importance

Earlier this month the European Environment Agency released figures indicating that 400,000 people die early every year because of the emission of particulates. According to the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in the Netherlands (RIVM) the number could be as high as 450,000. Road transport is one of the main culprits. Therefore, one can only hope that the other cities will soon follow suit with this initiative.

This initiative may also be a source of inspiration at the ‘Clean Air Forum’ next month in Paris. The main theme will also involve the improvement of air quality in cities. Hopefully, representatives from the automotive industry will be present at the Clean Air Forum. According to research carried out by PA Consulting, just one in four car manufacturers are headed towards achieving the EU emission targets in 2021.

German car manufacturers and greening

German car manufacturers who are expected to put things right after the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal don’t have to look very far for initiatives that lead to greening. Since the German Energiewende (the energy transition in Germany), clean (renewable) energy has become indispensable to our neighbours to the east. For example, over the past year, 205 new biogas plants in Germany accounted for a reduction of 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Biogas can be upgraded to green gas. The combustion of CNG/Green Gas is much cleaner than that of diesel and the NOx and particulate matter emissions are, therefore, much lower.

Refuelling with clean fuel RIGHT ACROSS Europe

Alternative fuel like CNG/Green Gas is available at more and more locations across Europe. I am proud that we, here at PitPoint, can contribute to a better climate, improved air quality and cleaner cities through the expansion of such refuelling infrastructure. For example, earlier this month, we opened the largest CNG filling station in Belgium for our client, IVAGO.

Despite the fact that there is still a long way to go, it is, in our opinion, unavoidable: Europe must and will truly become cleaner. PitPoint is working hard to help limit harmful emissions. We are doing this by investing in various clean fuels, including CNG, LNG, electricity and hydrogen, not just in the Netherlands, but throughout Europe. Apart from the positive developments in Belgium, we have also been active in France since 1 September. Our international growth objectives, therefore, continue to gain shape. After all, it is an international task to achieve 100% clean transport. It starts with ambition, and that ambition is certainly present.

Erik Kemink