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9 December 2020

NGVA Europe comments release of Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

Press Release

Brussels, 9 December 2020 – Today, the European Commission (EC) released its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy which lays out EC guidelines that will shape the transition towards a carbon neutral transportation system.

While the overall target of the European Green Deal is to reduce the Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy intends to adopt a comprehensive strategy to align the European mobility sector to this target.

NGVA Europe regrets that the EC is continuing to address a net-zero emissions target only through ’tailpipe zero’ and low emissions technologies which prevents creating a real technology neutral framework where other solutions, that are already available on the market, could increasingly contribute to the decarbonization process.

As follows, NGVA Europe identified major risks within the announced strategy:

First, the EC identifies the CO2 emissions standards regulation as the main tool the decarbonise road transport. However, switching from a pure tailpipe emission measuring approach to a more comprehensive assessment that also considers the fuel dimension, has not been mentioned among the key elements.

Consequently, this results in a lack of support of already existing low or net-zero emissions technologies, such as bioCNG and bioLNG, while favouring technologies that still need time before reaching the capacity to create substantial impact on the environment. While the target of climate neutrality in 2050 is clear, guidance on how to address and achieve emissions reductions in the next decade is missing and left to business-as-usual conventional fuel vehicles. These are accompanied by massive investments that are going to pay off only in a medium time span.

Furthermore, only recharging infrastructure and refuelling facilities for hydrogen are mentioned while completely ignoring the key importance of the gas infrastructure. It is a powerful enabler to provide bio and synthetic methane for the transport sector, with immediate effect in terms of GHG emissions savings.

We need to follow a technology neutral approach, where technologies like gas in transport, with existing vehicle fleets and infrastructure are already able to play their role and reduce emissions today. Thanks to a rapidly growing rate of available biomethane, even negative emissions can be achieved in gmobility. The CO2 benefit of sustainable renewable fuels need to be included directly in EU road mobility legislation.

NGVA Europe’s Secretary General Andrea Gerini commented:

“It appears that in legislation, technology neutrality has been often perceived as a weakness, perceived as the inability of taking decisions and setting a forward-looking agenda.

But the truth is the complete opposite: maintaining a technology neutral approach is the strongest signal and proof that the European Commission could give.

Because of the need to accelerate the process of reducing GHG emissions in the next decade, we need to be able to multiply solutions, particularly leveraging on existing vehicle technologies and carbon neutral fuels. And this is only achievable if technology neutrality is translated into legislative tools.

The decarbonisation process can be accelerated only if Europe will equip itself with a technology open legislative framework.”

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