EU heads of state today agreed three modest climate and green energy targets for 2030 , which lack the ambition needed to put Europe on track to meet its own 2050 climate commitments  and will not do enough to cut dependence on fossil fuels. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) says that now targets have been agreed, all eyes should turn towards implementation: the means and policies to achieve these 2030 targets can still make a big difference for the climate and the transition to a low-carbon economy where transport is crucial.
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 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.
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.
Without action, global CO2 emissions from transport are projected to double by 2050, the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has concluded. But ‘aggressive and sustained’ measures, including fuel carbon and energy intensity improvements, as well as infrastructure development can change the trendline and lead to a CO2 reduction of 15-40% instead.
The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published today alerts global leaders to the growing threat of uncontrolled transport emissions. The UN's climate panel says that transport is set to become the world’s biggest source of CO2 emissions unless lawmakers take strong action now. The report states: “Without aggressive and sustained policies (to cut CO2 from cars and trucks), transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than emissions from any other sector.”
2013 will – again – not go down in the history books as the year that Europe really got serious about tackling transport’s many environmental issues. On the headline level we actually see quite the contrary: the political focus is more on saving existing jobs than creating new ones, and the ‘climate and energy’ discussion is skewed more towards energy than climate than ever before.Geopolitically, Europe is moving towards North America and wants to conclude far-reaching free trade agreements with Canada and the US. There may be many good reasons for this, but we can only hope that a desire to emulate the North American model – relying on cheap and dirty fossil energy – is not one of them.
They say there are two options to push out bad news – publish it on a Friday, or bury it in a much bigger announcement. On transport fuels, the European Commission has chosen the latter strategy.
The EEB and T&E have given a cautious welcome today to the formation by the European Commission of a new advisory group on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The formation of the group represents the very first step in what is still a long process of improving the transparency and accountability of the negotiations.