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Transport's Make-or-Break Decade

It is no secret that combating climate change requires large and timely investments to cut green technology costs, increase efficiencies, support first-movers, and create new zero-emissions markets. Yet, in the European Union, such investment is often hard to come by, especially in the transport sector.

BRUSSELS – Pick any sector of the European economy, and you will find a lot of companies cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. But, while sectors like construction, electricity production, and agriculture now emit much less than they did in 1990, transport emissions have increased by 33%. Unless we put the brakes on transport pollution soon, the European Union will have a very hard time reaching its climate goals.

There is an important economic dimension to the challenge ahead. Europe’s highly competitive automotive and transport industry plays a key role in driving economic growth and employment. If Europe falls behind in developing and adopting sustainable technologies within the next decade, it will pay a high price.

The EU cannot afford to follow Asia and North America’s lead on sustainable technology. Nor can it keep taking baby steps. Instead, policymakers must act boldly to accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation by supporting innovation and dismantling barriers to green investment in the sector.