In a report on the environmental impact of freight transport adopted on May 21, the French Senate’s regional planning and sustainable development committee noted that road transport of people and goods represents 31% of gas emissions. greenhouse effect, making it the largest emitter of CO2. sector in France.
Heavy goods vehicles, in particular, which are thought to be responsible for 20% of these emissions, generate nine times more CO2 than trains and five times more than barges with containers.
To strengthen the competitiveness of rail and river networks, support for the “regeneration and development of rail and river networks is essential,” according to the report’s rapporteurs, Senator Les Républicains Rémy Pointereau (LR) and Senator Nicole Bonnefoy of the Socialists , Environmentalists. and the Republican Party.
While this seems to be a reasonable solution, French port and rail infrastructure are in critical condition.
During a public hearing held by the Senate committee, the Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari acknowledged that “goods do not transit by rail, because links with major multimodal exchange centers, in particular ports , are poorly implemented ”, due to -investment”.
To compensate for the lack of equipment, “5 billion euros of the recovery plan have been allocated to the railways,” said the minister.
However, between the growth of the high-speed train (TGV), the extension of schedules and the rehabilitation of the rails, the rail network is “a network that suffers”, with the many night sites “reducing the availability of train paths, until at least 2023, ”he warned.
France appears to have abandoned freight transport by train or boat in favor of road transport with both sectors paling compared to other EU countries – the European average for rail use is 18% and 5.5% for inland waterways, while the figures for France are 9% and 2.3% respectively.
The European Commission has also made reducing carbon emissions from road transport one of its priorities under the European Green Deal and recently proposed stricter emission rules for cars, vans, trucks and buses, known as “Euro 7” standards.
The talks are already a source of concern among automakers, who have called the standards a “de facto ban” on the internal combustion engine.
In February, the French carmakers association CCFA told EURACTIV it was concerned about Euro 7 standards and hoped for changes before the release of the final version. The Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) criticized the lack of concrete guarantees on the technical realization of future standards.
The 40 proposals put forward by the Senate for regional planning and sustainable development will be studied by the Senate when it votes on the Climate and Resilience Bill in July.
[Edited by Sean Goulding Carroll/Zoran Radosavljevic]