As exhaustive discussions come to an end, the EU is getting ready to roll out its new CO2 targets. Part of a wider ‘green future’ project, these targets will have a big impact on courier jobs. Read on for the key takeaways. |
Cutting a Deal
Like most things in politics, setting environmental goals requires compromise between various interests. Even within the EU, different bodies wanted different things:
• The European Parliament wanted stricter standards for emissions. • National government representatives wanted more business-friendly targets. • The European Commission wanted to keep both sides as happy as possible.
The council still needs to formally approve the deal, and the parliament will vote on it in a plenary session. Still, it seems a compromise has been reached.
The ‘green future’ initiative covers a lot of areas, but the most relevant areas for courier jobs are targets for CO2 emissions.
New targets demand the following emissions reductions by 2030 (compared to 2021 levels):
• 37.5 % for cars • 31% for vans
A midway target has also been set, with both types of vehicles to reach 15% by 2025.
More Changes Down the Road
The EU also has ambitious plans for the future. Crucially, the commission aims to develop a monitoring system to ensure vehicles are meeting these standards. The proposal aims to use on-the-road fuel consumption data to ensure that reductions are actually delivered. This aims to counter manufacturers’ ability to massage figures in in-house tests.
How Will this Affect the Courier Business?
We should note that these new standards place few, if any, new responsibilities on those doing courier jobs. The proposed monitoring system could see more of drivers’ data sent to the European Commission for analysis, but this should have little impact on the day-to-day machinations of courier work.
Auto makers, however, have warned that the deal sets unrealistic goals. Citing ‘technological and socio-economic realities’, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) argues that ‘targets will be extremely demanding on Europe’s auto industry.’ The main issue seems to be demand: ‘much stronger market uptake of electric and other alternatively-power vehicles’ will be necessary to meet the new standards.
The impact of this on courier jobs is uncertain. Manufacturers may be spurred to accelerate development of affordable alternative-fuel vehicles, which could see the industry as a whole move away from petrol and diesel.
At the same time, ACEA has sounded warnings about ‘the lack of a sufficiently dense network of recharging and refuelling infrastructure’. Electric cars especially may remain impractical for long journeys. Urban courier jobs are more likely to see change quicker.
Still, some have welcomed the deal. Transport & Environment (T&E), the European federation of transport NGOs, called it ‘a good deal for citizens’, citing lower fuel costs. More Distance Left to Go?
All this could change, however. The deal still needs to be approved formally, and some argue that more regulation is needed to meet the goals set out in the Paris climate accord.
At present, couriers have little to worry about. But they should keep a close eye on changing regulations, regardless, and also be aware that manufacturers may try to pass on increased costs to consumers. As always, look before you leap. Investing in alternative-fuel vehicles too soon could do more harm than good.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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