Net zero demands complete freight decarbonisation: UK case study

What happens with freight decarbonisation in this pivotal market has implications for the rest of Europe. By Megan Lampinen

The transportation sector is the biggest source of CO2 emissions in the UK, contributing 33% of the region’s total greenhouse gases (GHG) in 2018. Road transport alone represents 68% of all transport emissions, with 19% from heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) alone. Upcoming climate change targets will demand a radical overhaul of the UK freight industry, and the pressure is on to clean up quickly.

Special report: Road freight decarbonisation

The 2016 Carbon Budget Order requires the UK to cut overall GHG emissions by 57% by 2030 compared to a 1990 base level. However, that only equates to an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, not net zero. Under a 2019 amendment of the Climate Change Act, the UK will need to slash its GHG emissions by at least 100% by 2050, marking a net zero target.

Transport & Environment (T&E), a Brussels-based organisation with a focus on EU legislation, has warned that these targets will require a complete decarbonisation of the UK’s freight sector.

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