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Sowing the seeds of smarter transport policy

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Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E Director
Did we miss something? Last year, the European Commission didn’t propose a single new legislative measure to clean up transport. To be fair, it has been spending most of its time worrying about the future of the Eurozone. As a result, for T&E this was the sort of year where seeds for smarter transport policy were sown. We’re optimistic that next year could bring a decent crop of positive changes.

T&E paper highlights full picture of transport emissions

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The gulf between the transport sector’s increased greenhouse gas emissions and cuts from other sectors grew again in 2008. And aviation and shipping’s share of transport emissions rose from 18% in 2007 to 24% in 2008. These are two findings from T&E’s latest report on transport emissions.

Transport emissions up 34% since 1990

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Annual data compiled by the EEA and submitted to the UNFCCC on the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions usually leave out emissions from international shipping and aviation (so-called “bunkers”).
To complement the 2008 data, T&E wrote an analysis which includes shipping and aviation figures and aims at clarifying the actual contribution of the transport sector to the EU’s CO2 emissions.

New lending criteria needed

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The NGO network CEE Bankwatch says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development urgently needs to reduce its carbon-heavy investments in new motorways and air travel, and instead promote transport that assists the transition to a low-carbon economy. Its comments come in a consultation by the Bank on how it decides its transport lending in central and eastern Europe. Bankwatch also says the Bank’s ‘private sector at just about all costs’ approach is leading to bad lending decisions, and it should ensure that railway restructuring does not become a misleading term that takes trade off the rails because of higher costs.

So how much will really change under President Obama?

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Guest column by Dr Alan C Lloyd, president of The International Council on Clean Transportation, USA

The election of an American president with a much stronger environmental agenda has increased the likelihood that more favourable climate policies will come from the USA in the next four years.