Transport is the lifeblood of our society, powering economies and keeping us all on the move. But faced with a rapidly warming planet and big questions over the future of energy, Europe is under mounting pressure to accelerate its transition to cleaner and greener mobility.How can this be achieved?Join us, as we discuss the key issues at stake, in our latest Euronews virtual debate, "Green Mobility: How can Europe accelerate a zero-emission future?"Streamed live, it will take place at 1500 CEST, Thursday 21 September during Mobility Week.Meet the panelists:Herald Rujiters, Acting Deputy Director-General, DG Move, European CommissionHerald Ruijters is responsible for Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport in DG Mobility and Transport. His main responsibilities are the funding instruments Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon Europe and the financing instrument InvestEU.Herald also assumes responsibilities for the development of the trans-European transport network, the urban mobility framework, alternative fuels infrastructure, intelligent transport systems, as well as passenger rights, social aspects and equal opportunities.Hemant Mistry, Director, Net-Zero Transition, International Air Transport Association (IATA)Hemant Mistry has 30 years’ experience in aviation, including technology application, commercial strategy and regulatory reform. He leads IATA’s energy transition activities to support decarbonization of the industry, working across airlines, governments and the supply-chain to achieve Net Zero by 2050.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hemant was responsible for IATA’s work on securing financial support for airlines and supply chain partners. Prior to this, Hemant was IATA’s Director of Infrastructure and Fuel.Sigrid de Vries, Director General, European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA)Sigrid de Vries has longstanding experience working for strategic EU industry sectors, from automotive manufacturers to suppliers, to the construction equipment sector. She has held various external affairs and leadership roles and has a strong track record in representing industries in times of fast-paced transformation.Prior to her current appointment at ACEA, Sigrid de Vries was Secretary General of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA).Jillian Anable, Professor of Transport and Energy, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds (UK)Jillian Anable is Professor of Transport and Energy at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, in the UK. Her research addresses the potential for demand-side solutions to reduce carbon and energy from transport.Broadly, her current research direction investigates “the future of the car” – bringing together socio-technical developments including electrification, new mobility services and the psychology of Car owning and driving, to explore the concept of “car usership”.Mobility: The environmental costMoving people and goods around comes at a huge cost to the environment, contributing around one quarter of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The costs of congestion to society are put at €270 billion a year.But action on the ground has been limited in many parts of Europe. A special report from the European Court of Auditors in 2020 said there was "no indication" that EU cities were fundamentally changing their approaches nor was there a “clear trend” towards more sustainable modes of transport.What's happening at EU-level?At an EU policy level, mobility is a big part of the European Commission’s drive to help save our planet. It’s been aligning urban mobility regulations with the goals of its flagship Green Deal.The Commission is seeking to slash emissions by 90 per cent by 2050, through an ambitious action plan that relies heavily on making nearly all cars, vans, buses and heavy-duty vehicles zero-emission.Cleaning up carsBy 2030, it wants to see at least 30 million emission-free cars on its roads. Progress is already being made, with an increasing - but limited - take-up of electric-powered vehicles (EVs). How can electric equality be achieved? And how can the cars themselves be sustainable?Making road transport greener isn’t all about electric, with no shortage of other alternatives being developed. The likes of Renault, for example, have released a hydrogen-power utility vehicle and unveiled concept cars. Could hydrogen be a hybrid partner, alongside electric, in the drive to green-up mobility?Autonomous vehicles could also have a crucial role to play in Europe’s sustainable future.Recognised as a way of reducing congestion, there’s been huge investment in their research and development. But getting them out of the slow lane requires infrastructure, which is currently lacking, including in cities. Does the driverless concept risk being consigned to history as just a gimmick?How about flying?Greening up mobility also means cleaning up what happens in our skies. The aviation sector is making huge investments in new aircraft, which are more fuel-efficient. The EU expects zero-emission large aircraft to be market-ready by 2035.Commercial airlines are also using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from things like cooking oil and household waste. EU lawmakers recently approved new rules, requiring two percent of jet fuel to be sustainable by 2025, reaching 70 percent by 2050.But, with passenger numbers rising back to pre-pandemic levels and airlines growing routes like there’s no tomorrow, there are big questions about whether flying can ever be truly green.What role for tech?Technology has a crucial role to play in the mobility transition. Digitalisation means transport is now more connected and intelligent than ever before.But how can new and emerging tech, such as artificial intelligence, take things to the next level? AI is already helping trains and planes function autonomously and to keep traffic on the move. It can also boost safety and efficiency.More widely, who’s responsible for innovation in Europe and who pays? How are governments and industry working together? What kind of collaborations should there be? And what kind of say are voters, customers and consumers getting in shaping the future of mobility?
Got a question about the future of mobility in Europe? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch using the form below. We’ll put some of the questions we receive to our debate panellists on Thursday 21 September.