EU ETS for road transport: essential to decarbonise sector

The proposed new EU Emissions Trading System (ETS2) – covering road transport and heating for buildings – is currently one of the most controversial topics in the European Parliament.

To discuss it, stakeholders from science, business, civil society and the European Parliament gathered at a webinar, organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), and the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) last week.

The new ETS would complement the existing one, which covers emissions from energy generation and industry. It is part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, which sets out the legislative framework and actions that the European Commission considers necessary to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990 values).

Speakers at the webinar included Peter Liese, MEP and rapporteur for the ETS in the Parliament; Sofie Defour from Transport & Environment (T&E); Nicolette van der Jagt from the European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services (CLECAT); Thomas Fabian from ACEA; Michael Pahle from PIK; and Ottmar Edenhofer from PIK and MCC. All panellists supported the introduction of the ETS2, providing different perspectives on its role and how to implement it.

“The ETS2 has the potential to combine climate policy and energy security. In times of war, this is an important aspect which hasn’t been discussed much,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of PIK and MCC. “ETS2 could help energy prices go in the right direction,” Edenhofer said. “Oil prices should rise and clean electricity prices should drop to ensure that clean vehicles become more competitive.”

Thomas Fabian, ACEA’s Commercial Vehicle Director, urged policymakers to endorse the proposal to establish a solid carbon pricing system for road transport: “The ETS for road transport is a crucial part of the policy framework that enables the decarbonisation of the sector. It is not ‘a silver bullet’ to replace other regulations, but, without it, the necessary CO2 reductions will simply not be possible. Indeed, a broad market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles can only be expected if the carbon content of all energy carriers and CO2 emissions is priced appropriately.”

A video of the complete event, attended by some 150 participants, is available here. The presentations are downloadable here.

The ETS for road transport is not ‘a silver bullet’ to replace other regulations, but, without it, the necessary CO2 reductions will simply not be possible.
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