The world’s governments will spend $5.3 trillion (€4.8 trillion) subsidising the cost of oil, gas and coal this year, thereby undermining their attempts to combat global warming and wealth inequality and fund public health.
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.
Norway and the Netherlands are the world’s leading countries for electric car use, but also the countries that spend most money making e-vehicles attractive to buyers. These are the findings of a new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) on the take-up of electric vehicles. T&E says the report shows that money alone will not grow the electric car market.
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).
Suddenly Karel de Gucht is the most talked-about figure in Brussels. The Belgian trade commissioner is very busy. He is trying to finish a free trade deal with Canada; his boss and Obama are pressing for a deal with the US to be next. And then there is China – where the direction is towards less, not more, free trade. The EU has just imposed an anti-dumping 12% tariff on Chinese solar panels, with a threat to go to 47%. In its response, China is trying to play the usual divide-and-rule tactic by threatening tariffs on wine (annoying for the French), and luxury cars (annoying for the Germans).
The head of the International Monetary Fund has said the economic growth needed to get the world’s economies back to health must be ‘on a different track than before the crisis’. Christine Lagarde’s comments came just after a number of ex-finance ministers wrote to today’s European finance ministers, asking them to shift the burden from income tax and VAT on to carbon and energy taxes.