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Statement by Vivianne Heijnen, Minister for the Environment, High-Level Event on Used Cars and Fuel Quality: ‘Avoiding a Green Divide’
‘We need to speed things up. Emissions from transport are still clearly out of step with the Paris goals. As we accelerate transport decarbonisation, however, we must avoid a green divide.’ This said Vivianne Heijnen, Dutch Minister for the Environment at a High-Level Event on Used Cars and Fuel Quality: ‘Avoiding a Green Divide’ at the COP27 in Egypt. In her statement the minister spoke about the MoU the UK and the Netherlands launched during the COP26 in Glasgow. ‘Last year during COP26, the UK and the Netherlands launched a declaration and a Global Memorandum of Understanding on this subject. Since then a growing number of parties have joined this MoU. I call on emerging markets to join us. Only by working together can we make our ambitions reality. And lower the threshold for the transition to climate-neutral transport.’
|Verantwoordelijke||Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat|
|Thema||Rail- en wegverkeer|
Your Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
It’s an honour to speak to you today. I’d like to thank the African Union and the World Bank for inviting me.
Opportunities are rapidly emerging for decarbonising both passenger and goods transport. Technology is increasingly becoming available at cost-competitive prices. It’s our responsibility – markets and governments together – to seize those opportunities for the health of our people and our planet. Not tomorrow, but today.
We need to speed things up. Emissions from transport are still clearly out of step with the Paris goals.
As we accelerate transport decarbonisation, however, we must avoid a green divide.
Both advanced and emerging economies should be able to accelerate to zero. I hope that emerging markets will set out bold ambitions for the sale of new cars and vehicles.
Last year during COP26, the UK and the Netherlands launched a declaration and a Global Memorandum of Understanding on this subject. Since then a growing number of parties have joined this MoU. I call on emerging markets to join us. Only by working together can we make our ambitions reality. And lower the threshold for the transition to climate-neutral transport.
But we also need to take a far closer look at trade in used vehicles. It offers developing countries the opportunity to quickly leapfrog. But leapfrogging is only possible if we have the right policies in place. Ensuring that the used vehicles traded are of good quality. And ensuring the quality of the fuels these vehicles run on. The policies of importing and exporting countries need to be harmonised and coherent.
At the same time, we need to foster technical assistance and investment in developing countries.
Let me highlight three critical factors: export standards, enforcement and maintenance, and fuel quality.
First export standards. Many importing countries have modernised their vehicle fleets or are currently doing so. Exporting countries now need to mirror those policies as soon as possible. By adopting rules to improve the quality of used export vehicles.
I’m strongly in favour of making a valid roadworthiness certificate a mandatory requirement for export. And I want to see how we could discourage or prevent export of used vehicles with an emission standard below Euro-4. I will use the upcoming regulatory reform processes at EU level to try and make that a reality.
Second. It is critical to promote enforcement by training vehicle inspectors in countries that have adopted policies to modernise their fleets. Motorisation management and well-maintained vehicles are a key strategy to reduce pollution from vehicles and improve road safety.
We will have to find smart financial mechanisms to fund that. I call on the World Bank to set up specific support for this. Last year the Netherlands – as the first donor – put 800,000 euros into the World Bank’s Global Facility to Decarbonise Transport. I hope many others will follow.
Lastly, we need to make sure that fuel quality matches car quality. Access to clean
fuels is vital in preventing air pollution. It also helps us in the transition towards
sustainable transport. Not only are poor quality fuels bad for engines, but they also
have a detrimental effect on air quality and health. Cancelling out any potential
I would strongly welcome leadership from ECOWAS when they meet three weeks from now to discuss fuel quality standards in their region.
But again, it’s also up to exporting countries to act. The Netherlands saw that fuels being exported from our country were not meeting the requirements. So we imposed quality standards on fuel exporters that reflect their duty of care to the environment. The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate set new, stricter standards for sulphur, benzene and manganese levels in exported petrol and diesel.
I call on other European countries to impose similar standards. Care for people and the environment should not stop at the EU’s borders.
To conclude, opportunities to align transport with the Paris Agreement are rapidly emerging. We can avoid a green divide if we act decisively and jointly. Both on our goals and on the support needed to make those goals a reality.
On Thursday we will present a flagship initiative for the existing fleet as part of Solutions Day. So, stay tuned and join us. Let’s present bold action and results next year at COP28 and at the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers in Nairobi in 2024.