A new European Environment Agency (EEA) report has been published that identifies transport as a major stumbling block for the European Union in trying to reach its Kyoto climate change targets. The report, 'Transport and Environment: on the way to a new common transport policy', calls for policy changes to address the massive increase in transport usage over the last twenty years. Passenger transport volumes have grown 20 percent in the EU between 1990 and 2003, and air transport volumes have virtually doubled in the same period. While other major economic sectors such as agriculture actually managed to reduce their emissions from 1990 to 2004, transport's emissions contribution has moved further into the red.

Emissions are not the only adverse effect of the surge in transport - noise pollution and air pollution related illness has also risen with the number of vehicles on European roads. In fact the report points out that almost four million life-years are lost each year due to high pollution levels.

Analysis: Extraordinary subsidies of over €100 billion per annum (US$131 billion) are paid to the road transport industry in Europe, leading to increased use of trucks and cars in favour of more efficient transport options. If such subsidies are phased, out the economic balance of efficiency should be restored which will also help the environment.

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[Source: Copenhagen EnviroNews]

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