How can European environmental cooperation be improved? This was the topic discussed at Kiev from 21 to 23 May, 2003, at the fifth pan-European ministers’ conference held since 1991. The reference point for the event was ‘Europe’s environment: the third assessment’, a detailed, book-length review of the state of the environment in the 51 countries in question and policy options to address the issues covered.
CE was commissioned to write the chapter on transport.* The challenge was to provide a balanced picture of the environmental performance of the transport sector in all 51 countries making due allowance for regional differences in abatement strategies. One surprising result was that citizens of Western Europe use three times as much energy for their transport and run the same risk of dying in a traffic accident as citizens of the former Soviet republics, despite environmental and safety criteria being far stricter in the west. This is due to the vastly greater transport volumes here, particularly on the roads.
In all regions the key challenge is to ensure that environmental progress outstrips transport growth, which is only feasible if policy-makers take vigorous steps to promote cleaner transport technologies, internalise external costs and plan new infrastructure wisely.
* Besides the transport chapter, CE was also responsible for the chapter on industry, briefly reviewed under the publications of the Sustainable Business division.