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Transport trends ‘pointing in wrong direction’

traffic-jamEurope’s transport system is still nowhere near as green as it could — and should — be, according to a report released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

“Transport at a crossroads” finds that, while pollution from newer vehicles is being reduced, greenhouse gas emissions, freight volumes and car ownership across the continent are still on the rise.

“We know the technology exists to tackle impacts of the transport sector on Europe’s environment,” said Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director. “However, many vehicles rolling off production lines are anything but green, the freight sector still favours the least efficient transport modes and railways across the EU still do not have a unified system.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 26 percent — 180 million tonnes — between 1990 and 2006;
  • Total freight volume across EU member states increased by 35 percent, or 650 millino tonne-kilometres, between 1996 and 2006;
  • Car ownership in the EU-27 rose by 22 percent — 52 million cars — between 1995 and 2006; and
  • Car travel is also increasing, with Europeans driving an additional 65 million kilometres in 2006.

“At a time when we need to tackle our economic and environmental problems through sustainable and green solutions, trends in transport are pointing in the wrong direction; and will continue to contribute to air pollution, rising emissions of greenhouse gas and many negative environmental impacts,” McGlade said. “We still need clear, measurable, realistic and time related targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air emissions and noise from transport.”

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