Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie
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ADEME in action
Context and issues at stake
The transportation sector is greatly responsible for the increase in energy consumption in France and for emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. It currently accounts for 29% of these emissions compared to only 13% in 1960, with consumption by this sector nearly doubling since 1973. Road transportation is by far the leading culprit, accounting for 81% of the energy consumed by all means of transportation combined.
The reasons for this rise in fuel consumption are as follows :
The same is observed with regard to emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Transportation is a major contributor to these emissions (for example, 37% of carbon monoxide and 54% of nitrogen oxide emissions). In this regard, it should be stressed that, in order to operate, the transportation sector is 96% dependent on oil products. This is one of the key reasons for the sector's vulnerability and explains its sizeable contribution to emissions of pollutants generated by the combustion of oil products.
This is also true for emissions of greenhouse gases. The transportation sector is the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions (27% of emissions of greenhouse gases in France, 35% of CO2 emissions). Here again, road transportation is the main culprit. However, technological advances, combined with increasingly stringent regulations, have resulted in more energy-efficient, less polluting vehicles.
For example, voluntary agreements have been signed between the European Commission and automobile manufacturers to significantly reduce vehicles’ unit consumption (and therefore related emissions of carbon dioxide). Moreover, every four or five years new European standards (Euro 3, Euro 4) lower the emissions thresholds of the leading pollutants.
Yet all these efforts are not enough. While it is true that vehicles consume less energy and cause less pollution, the transportation sector is no less responsible for damage to the environment. Indeed, the decrease in vehicles’ unit consumption and emissions is offset by the sharp increase in road traffic. If nothing is done to reverse this trend, this increase would continue over the coming decades making it impossible for France to meet its international commitments concerning greenhouse gas emissions and transboundary pollution. Therefore, regardless of future prospects in the technological arena, action must also be taken to regulate the growth of urban and interurban traffic. It goes without saying that efforts must be made to curtail the growth of road traffic and for this two options can be considered :
In addition to the role it plays in developing regulations, ADEME carries out a number of activities in the domain of transportation through two departments.
Taking action to develop more fuel-efficient, less polluting vehicles.
This is the role of the Transportation Technologies department. The activities of this department are centred around four main areas : conventional and alternative fuels; emission control systems to reduce exhaust emissions; engines (heat, electric, hybrid, fuel cell), and accessories (air conditioning, tyres, lightening of weight, noise). The vehicles concerned are light or heavy vehicles, two-wheel vehicles and non-road engines (marine, rail, heavy construction equipment).
In each of these areas, ADEME carries out various actions which can be broken down into the following categories :
The Transportation Organisation department focuses its efforts on two key sectors, the importance of which is assessed by ADEME, and attempts to promote the various organisational solutions which can lead to a reduction in traffic volumes (“transport less”) or a change in their modal split in favour of less polluting modes (“transport better”) :
A number of actions have been taken by the Transportation Organisation department to support all these existing or emerging organisational solutions:
One of ADEME’s critical missions is to inform, advise and foster awareness among the general public in an effort change individual behaviours.
The goal is to encourage the best possible use of traditional vehicles and greater use of mass transit and zero emission vehicles.
Source Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie http://www.ademe.fr