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Truck fuel-economy standards needed, says German environment agency

Germany’s federal environment agency, UBA, has backed calls for truck fuel efficiency standards, saying ‘a much more intensive discussion about CO2 standards for heavy goods vehicles’ and ‘ambitious regulation’ are required. Citing ever-greater volumes of goods being transported by road and the trend towards more powerful and heavier vehicles, the agency said the transport sector must step up its efforts on climate action.

Electro-mobility and alternative fuels central to ‘energy union’ agenda

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.

EU unveils distance-based road charging plan

Plans to develop a Europe-wide road-charging scheme have been unveiled by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bluc. The charging of cars and lorries for road use based on distance driven would be optional, allowing member states to not participate if they did not wish to.

Green light for lorries redesign but only after 2022

Representatives of EU governments have signed off on a deal that will put an end to brick-shaped lorry designs and clear the way for advances in fuel efficiency and safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The agreement allows lorrymakers to produce new designs but the truck industry secured a ban until 2022 even though the new designs are voluntary, not mandatory.

Modest climate and energy targets won’t cut it

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.

The ETS mess – Denmark’s unholy alliance with the German car industry

Many people tend to see the world in a Manichean way. You’ve got the good guys and the bad guys. That’s as true within the environmental movement as anywhere else. So it is perhaps surprising to see that many environmentalists work together with unusual allies. For example, when it comes to car CO2 standards environmentalists and car drivers have the same interest; cleaner, more efficient cars are good for drivers’ pockets and for the climate. That makes the case for them almost irresistible.

Reduced-blind-spot lorries to save hundreds of lives – study

Redesigning lorry cabs to reduce blind spots could save hundreds of cyclists’ and pedestrians’ lives every year, according to a new study by a design research team. It found a ‘direct vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today’s lorries.

Denmark pushing to include transport in ETS

The Danish government has asked EU leaders to consider including transport in the emissions trading system (ETS) when they discuss climate and energy targets at a European Council later this month. Campaigners say such a move would actually be counterproductive to reducing emissions in the sector and do nothing to strengthen the ETS.