The European Parliament, voting in plenary today, has approved the extension of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS II) to road transport and buildings.
As IRU has repeatedly pointed out, the Parliament’s environmental committee (ENVI) had submitted an impractical ETS II, which was not fit for purpose.
“We are shocked to see that, despite the industry’s constructive approach, ENVI’s impractical and hostile proposal on ETS II ultimately persuaded the European Parliament to go against the commercial road transport sector,” said IRU’s EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian.
“The road transport sector is concerned about the very real risk of an increased cost base, without any return and without any realistic chance to shift to zero-emission vehicles any time soon.”
IRU urges a gradual introduction of the ETS, aligned with technology and charging infrastructure developments; the avoidance of multiple taxation/charging for CO2 emissions; the reinvestment of revenues earned from ETS for road back into the road transport sector to help it decarbonise; and the inclusion of both private and commercial road users.
The European Council’s recent watering down of EU ambitions on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure is a clear signal that the shift to zero-emission heavy duty vehicles is not a priority for EU Member States. Therefore, the inclusion of road transport into ETS will lead to an extra charge, without serving as a decarbonisation incentive to transport operators, as long as zero emission alternatives are not sufficiently available.
If the basic condition for the shift to such vehicles – the availability of charging/refuelling infrastructure – is not in place, the EU has no justification for an immediate increase in taxation and charges on CO2 emissions from commercial road transport services. IRU stresses the need for smart taxation that incentivises road transport operators to decarbonise, not a system that penalises them.
“If the Parliament’s view convinces the Council, we foresee a dramatic impact on the industry, on road transport in general, and a major setback to decarbonisation,” adds Raluca Marian.
“This is a bad decision on many levels: there will be impracticalities when it comes to distinguishing between private and commercially used vehicles; public transport will become more expensive, leading to increased use of private cars and CO2 emissions; and ETS revenue from commercial road transport services will be insufficient to fund the investments needed for the targets set under the RePowerEU plan and to finance the Social Climate Fund.”
For these reasons, IRU calls for the Council to embrace a pragmatic approach which includes all road users and opts for a gradual extension of ETS to road transport, in line with the rolling out of alternative fuels infrastructure across the EU.