In the two European Parliament hearings, which were clearly designed to avoid undue controversy, both Commissioners-designate Maroš Šefčovič and Violeta Bulc displayed a good grasp of their briefs but stayed clear of strong statements, let alone concrete commitments.
T&E's reaction to the Parliament's hearing of Commissioner-designate for Transport and Space Maroš ŠefčovičToday’s questioning of Commissioner-designate for Transport and Space revealed Maroš Šefčovič to be a capable and experienced Commissioner with a surprisingly good grasp of his brief.
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.
T&E's reaction to European Parliament's hearing of Commissioner-designate for Environment Mr Karmenu Vella. Today’s two-hour grilling of Commissioner-designate for Environment Mr Karmenu Vella revealed how critically important 'Green 10' demands are for anchoring sustainability higher in the Commission’s organisational chart. A first, important move will be to give one Vice-President the formal responsibility for sustainability, stressing the need for a VP to be held accountable for delivering sustainable development.
Yes, this editorial has an unlikely title. If you have been following us, or the issues we work on, a little bit, the overwhelming impression is that things have been scaled back (emissions-trading aviation), postponed (the Fuel Quality Directive, possibly NOx from ship engines, truck CO2 emissions) and watered down (CO2 from cars, biofuels).
The current Commission is on track to have one of the worst-ever environmental records of any EU administration. That is the view of the group of 10 Brussels-based environmental NGOs (‘Green 10’), whose mid-term assessment of José Manuel Barroso’s second Commission says it would not win any medals and is acting to protect the environment even less than his first Commission (2005-09).
Is car use in decline in developed economies? T&E Director Jos Dings takes a look at the concept of 'peak car' and how policymakers should respond.
Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E director
People who follow our work – and Europe’s environmental policy – a little bit will have noticed that two fuels-related draft laws keep dragging on without any apparent progress. The first one is what to do about indirect land use change effects of biofuels (key words: Iluc, biodiesel). The second is whether or not to give petrol and diesel from unconventional fossil sources a higher lifecycle greenhouse gas default value (key words: fuel quality directive, tar sands).