The Guardian newspaper is reporting that Europe’s car industry wants the continent’s entire road network to be resurfaced as a “climate initiative”, so that it does not need to make mandatory car emissions cuts by 2030.
The lobbying document produced by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and seen by the paper also advocates for greater use of biofuels; “smart transport” infrastructure; and “eco-driving” lessons for motorists.
The Guardian calls its suggestion “audacious”, because the huge infrastructure project would be a substitute for planned EU targets for reducing emissions.
“Maintaining and upgrading roads surfaces can have a substantial impact on CO2 emissions,” says the new study. “All of Europe’s roads could be resurfaced with lower-rolling resistance surfaces within 20 years, resulting in CO2 reductions of up to 5% by 2035.”
Over a 20-year period, the research estimates the project’s cost at between €520bn (£402bn) and €780bn – or an average of €26 to €39bn per year – and calls for public investment to help pay for it. “Funding streams such as the Juncker Investment Plan can play a positive role,” the document says.
Car companies are currently obliged to cut their emissions down to 95g of CO2/km by 2021, and the European commission is this year considering new benchmarks for 2025 and 2030. The Guardian says clean transport experts reacted with disbelief to the ACEA proposals, which they described as an ineffective and expensive tax-payer subsidy for the car industry.