By Jos Dings, executive directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: This piece is not to add to the incredible volume of thoughtful analysis on what made Brexit and Trump possible – let alone to offer a solution. It is about what it means for NGOs in general and T&E in particular, and what we can do now.What it means? Put simply, bad news, and not only because the Brexiteers and Trump are no tree huggers. Green and less green politicians come and go after all.
By Jelena Simjanovic, clean energy directorWHAT I LEARNED IN 2016: I joined T&E in late summer, soon after the European Commission published its Low-emission Mobility Strategy. Its goals looked promising: increasing efficiency of the transport system; speeding up the development of low-emission alternative energy for transport; and moving towards zero-emission vehicles. While I had a general idea about biofuels and sustainability issues around them, I entered the transport world after 10 years of working on a variety of energy sector issues and carbon markets. I feel privileged to have a job where I can learn as much as I have learned in the past five months, while at the same time utilising my extensive knowledge of the electricity and energy markets for the discussion on transport electrification and development.
National regulators turning a blind eye to vehicle test cheating is the main culprit for the 29 million ‘dirty’ diesel cars on European roads today. On the occasion of the Dieselgate anniversary T&E launched a damning report showing that those 29 million cars and vans exceed by at least three times Europe’s legal NOx limits, known as Euro 5 and Euro 6. The vehicles, which grossly pollute the environment and cause thousands of premature deaths every year, were approved for sale by national type approval authorities, mainly in Germany, France and the UK.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
New research from the OECD suggests stricter environmental policies do not hold back economic growth, and that governments and companies are often wrong to claim that measures to tackle environmental threats will damage economic competitiveness through imposing a burden of ‘green tape’.
The right of individuals and NGOs to challenge environmental decisions has been thrown into doubt by a controversial ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.