The Commission has issued a transport and technology communication which calls on governments to ‘break away from conventional thinking’ in an attempt to boost new forms of transport energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E directorAfter almost two years of delay, it now seems that the European Commission is indeed going to do something about indirect land-use change caused by growing crops for biofuels. And a delay it has been. Faithful readers of the Bulletin must have noted our regular coverage of the true avalanche of reports, studies and positions by generally very cautious bodies like the OECD and the FAO, pointing out the big risks and dangers of biofuels if handled without proper care.
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).
The idea of making fuel tax in Europe relate to a fuel’s energy and carbon dioxide content is still struggling to get into the EU Energy Tax Directive. Last month EU finance ministers moved closer to approving a new structure for minimum tax rates for fuels, but most member states opposed any system that would force them to make diesel more expensive than petrol.
The Commission has begun a consultation on whether the 2002 Environmental Noise Directive is doing its job.
A new paper from the OECD on efficient taxation says raising the importance of property taxation and environmental levies is vital for improving government finances.
The EU should impose a 20% reduction target for carbon dioxide emissions from the entire European transport sector by 2020, according to the European Parliament’s transport committee.