Transport & Environment director Jos Dings addressed a hearing in the European Parliament on 4 November, 2014. He laid out T&E's position on European road toll systems for private vehicles, including environmental, financial, technical and privacy concerns. His remarks are available to download.
This briefing looks at the main features of the 2014 proposal too implement Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Despite weakening – due to intense lobbying by the Canadian and US governments and oil companies – some of the elements of the 2014 proposal are worth implementing and strengthening, such as the new reporting of crude oil imports by market crude oil names (MCONs). In addition, the 2014 proposal gives fuel suppliers new ways to meet the FQD target, such as promoting low-carbon electricity used in transport.
This paper details how the current system of testing cars to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions is not fit for purpose. The gap between test results and real-world performance has become a chasm, increasing from 8% in 2001 to 31% in 2013 for private motorists. Mercedes cars have the biggest gap between test and real world performance, and less than 20% of the improvement in emissions measured in tests of Opel/Vauxhall cars is realised on the road.
This briefing summarises a legal analysis highlighting how the proposals are contrary to the requirements of the current ETS Directive. It also covers new research illustrating why including transport in the ETS would be counterproductive; compared with a scenario of ambitious post-2020 vehicle CO2 standards there would be 160,000 fewer jobs, and €22/77 billion higher oil imports in 2030/2050. Climate policy, as well as transport emissions reductions, would stall.
Did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? This is because of EU law. And to meet this demand, global production of biofuels has skyrocketed. You may think ‘bio’ means biofuels are always good for the planet. But because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase in their use has a direct impact on agriculture worldwide. That means more deforestation to make way for new agricultural land, releasing the stored-up carbon of rainforests into the air and driving up global food prices. Co-produced by T&E, BirdLife Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau, The Little Book of Biofuels explains this Butterfly Effect of Europe’s biofuels policy and how we can end it.
Following commissioner hearings at the European Parliament, the Green 10 believes MEPs must reject the Commission unless rigorous changes of mandates, job titles and re-allocation of posts are made along the lines indicated by the Green 10 in the letter to the Conference of Presidents and Conference of Chairs on 3 October 2014.
Several transport stakeholders, including civil society organisations and industry players, wrote to EU institutions to highlight the importance of keeping dedicated policies for the decarbonisation of the transport sector. They argued that this policy framework should be based on a decarbonisation target, promoting fuels and energy with the highest carbon savings, avoiding fragmentation of the EU market, and ensuring long-term visibility and stability for investments.
T&E supports an integrated impact assessment that seeks to examine impacts across the economic, environmental and social areas. In July 2014, the European Commission opened a public consultation on the revision of its impact assessment guidelines and asked stakeholders to respond to a questionnaire. In its response, T&E stated its concern that economic impacts – typically on an affected industry – are often assessed in impressive detail while the assessment of environmental and other societal impacts benefits is often incomplete.
The Green 10, a coalition of the 10 leading environmental organisations active at EU level, wrote to Commission Vice-President designate Frans Timmermans expressing grave concerns over the proposed set-up for the new Commission. The letter notes that none of the vice presidents’ mission letters mention sustainability as a key issue, and the mandate for the Environment Commissioner aims for a freeze and possibly rollback of environmental policies. The new Commission structure would also mean that for the first time in two decades the EU would not have a dedicated Environment Commissioner. There are also serious concerns over conflicts of interest resulting from the current assignment of some portfolios.The letter reiterates the Green 10's four proposals to rebalance this situation: establish a vice-president for sustainability; upgrade the Vice-President for Energy Union to ‘Climate Action and Energy Union’; ensure the full-time environment portfolio is reinstated; and resolve the conflicts of interest.
Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road.