Diversification is the key

European Newsflash #1

16-10-2016

Though not always noticeable to many, the European policy-makers and stakeholders work hard to realise a cleaner economy. For example, various NGOs recently sent a pressing letter to the European Commission in which they call on them to phase out polluting fuels. This does not stay unnoticed, or as European Commission member for Climate, Miquel Arias Canete, recently pointed out “We honour our promises: the CO2-emission of the EU was reduced by 22% between 1990 and 2015, whereas the economy saw a 50% growth.” And so we make progress through innovation. One of the most significant solutions is the fact that both the European Commission as well as the everyday European express the desire for electric vehicles.

The future is now

We must think big if we are to implement big changes. And so the climate goals that Europe has set itself to achieve are quite a challenge: at least 80% lower CO2-emission compared to 1990. The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that more than 400,000 Europeans die pre-maturely as a result of air pollution, mostly caused by transport, and so we have to aim high. According to a report by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) that was published this week, the EU will have to pull out all the stops if it is to achieve its goals. They appeal to the European Commission to reduce the CO2-emission resulting from transport and to stimulate the roll-out of clean fuel vehicles more. All the more reason for PitPoint to follow this international movement and to implement a countries structure. This enables the company to respond more efficiently to the clean fuel needs of various countries.

During the Paris climate conference, the agreement of which recently took effect, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker declared himself in favour of clean air quality and becoming less dependent on oil. Now that the Climate Change Conference is underway in Marrakech, it is up to the countries concerned to redeem the promises that they have made. The main question there is how to go about realising the Paris agreement and whether or not efforts must be increased. It will become evident in the weeks to come whether the international community will stay on course on the road to progress, but Vice-President of the European Commission and Euro-commissioner of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovic knows what Europe must do: “We have the opportunity to transform the energy transition into a revolution.”

Cleaner fuels in all sectors

In order to accomplish that, and to have clean mobility play a significant role in that respect, Europe stimulates much research in that sector. As Šefčovic recently put it “diversification of energy sources is the key.” A favourable development, as is also the opinion of Antonia Tricas-Aizpun of the European Commission Directorate-General MOVE: “It is clear that biogas, biomethane and LNG/CNG must exist alongside one another if we are to develop a cost-effective market for CNG vehicles in the period to come.” PitPoint could not agree more.

The European Commission also recently approved millions in Portuguese subsidies for realising clean fuel city busses and the corresponding infrastructure. In addition, Germany announced the introduction of the newest hydrogen train: a hyper-modern ‘steam train’ with zero CO2-emission. In addition to innovations in the automobile and railway sector, the shipping sector is finally on board as well. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires ships to considerably reduce their sulphur-emission in the years to come. Both CNG and LNG are much cleaner and more sustainable alternatives compared to the heavy oil currently used by ships, but making ports and ships suitable for these alternatives is very expensive and slow in the making.

In addition to increasing sustainability within the shipping sector, the aviation sector must innovate as well. After all, anyone who takes a return flight from London-New York generates as much CO2 as an average European does all year by heating his home. Which is why the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is to implement economic measures that drive back the CO2-emission in that sector. An important step in a time in which the shortest scheduled commercial flight was recently launched because, as Jos Nijhuis, top official of Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, recently stated: “can we still consider it socially responsible to fly from Amsterdam to Barcelona and back for a mere €30?”