Do you know the feeling when you are having a thought that you know cannot be new but you haven’t heard anywhere before? I had it recently when I was asked to speak at a Carnegie event on a report entitled Oil Market Futures. Essentially the report and event revolved around the question on what ‘Paris’ can mean for future oil prices. And the answer is: a lot. If the world indeed follows through on its climate action commitments, the oil price in 2040 would be 24% lower than under business-as-usual.
The EU’s policy of using biodiesel for transport is set to increase Europe’s overall transport emissions by almost 4% instead of cutting CO2 emissions, according to a new analysis of the European Commission’s latest study on biofuels. These extra emissions are equivalent to putting around 12 million additional cars on Europe’s roads in 2020, the analysis by T&E finds. These findings take into account the EU’s 7% cap on the contribution of biofuels produced from food crops.
There is broad support among EU environment ministers for new CO2 standards for trucks and strengthened CO2 standards for cars. A large number of those attending an informal council of transport and environment ministers in Amsterdam last month said the measures would be required to ensure the necessary transition towards a low and zero emission transport sector in 2050 in order to combat climate change, air pollution and ‘green’ Europe’s economy.
The appalling scale of carmakers’ gaming and cheating of emissions tests became more apparent in April as their credibility collapsed like a house of cards. The steady drip-drip with which the public became increasingly aware of the magnitude and pervasiveness of carmakers’ wrongdoing started on 20 April when Mitsubishi’s top executives admitted it had cheated CO2 tests on 625,000 minicars in Japan. Mitsubishi’s president acknowledged the misconduct with a deep bow of apology and later admitted the carmaker had cheated fuel tests for 25 years.
Governments last month failed even to agree on developing a work plan to determine shipping’s ‘fair share’ contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris deal. Despite there being a clear majority in support of the move, a minority led by China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and the Cook Islands blocked a consensus to move forward. The issue was put back on the agenda of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) environment committee for when it next meets in October.
A Portuguese regional airport that was expanded with large amounts of EU funding has announced plans to turn itself into an aircraft parking facility because demand for the airport has fallen badly short of predictions. The case highlights T&E’s call for greater scrutiny of public money being used to prop up carbon-intensive, underutilised infrastructure with questionable social and economic benefits.
A leading economist is warning that if the world does not take the action required by the Paris climate agreement, it will have to make a dangerously sudden adjustment 10-15 years from now which will have massive costs.
Even a modest rise in temperatures could put at risk 1.8% of the world’s financial assets if the global economy does not move away from carbon-emitting infrastructure, according to a new study from the London School of Economics (LSE). Another body that monitors the impact of climate change on the global economy says the model used to arrive at this figure has been too generous and the situation could be much worse.
A controversy is growing in Germany about future funding mechanisms for building and maintaining roads. The federal government and the 16 state governments are looking at new financing options involving the private sector, but T&E’s member VCD has criticised the direction in which the discussions are going, saying they take no account of the need to fight climate change and changing transport trends.
Tesla has fired the starting gun in the race to build the ‘second generation’ of electric vehicles by unveiling its Model 3, a small luxury sedan with a range of around 350km and, at $35,000 US selling price, half the price tag of its earlier models. The Model 3 is expected to go into production late in 2017.