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€42.5m Irish airport state-aid a ‘waste of scarce public money’

EU approval of Ireland’s €42.5 million in state aid to small regional airports has been criticised for allowing public money to prop up underutilised infrastructure with questionable social and economic benefits. Four airports will receive the grants over the next four years – while the Irish government faces calls to address ‘chronic’ underinvestment in low-carbon public transport.

Aviation industry 12 years off 2020 fuel efficiency target

Promised fuel efficiency gains by the aviation industry are far off-track and will meet the UN aviation body ICAO’s goal of improving 2% a year by 2020 some 12 years late. The average fuel burn of new aircraft has improved by just 1.1% a year since 2010, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT).

France gifting €1bn a year in aviation subsidies – study

The French government, which hosts this year’s critical COP21 climate change conference, is losing around €1 billion a year in revenue because it exempts domestic air transport from energy and carbon taxation. The figure comes from a study on foregone tax revenues from aviation commissioned by T&E member Climate Action Network France (RAC-France).

Transport consuming most energy in developed world

Transport is the greatest consumer of energy in the developed world, consuming more than industry, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found for the second consecutive year. In the EU, transport still lags behind industry in total final energy consumption, but the gap is narrowing, and road transport’s continued reliance on oil is making the sector increasingly slow to embrace lower-emission energy.

Biodiesel consumption increased in 2014

New figures show the amount of biofuels being used for transport in the EU rose by 6.1% in 2014, but the increase is less than the fall in transport biofuels registered in 2013. The rise suggests trends are going in the wrong direction as biodiesel takes up the most important part of the increase, though the figures should be treated with caution because there is limited information on the type of feedstocks used to produce these biofuels.

Uber case to shape future of shared mobility

The role of shared mobility in shaping European transport is likely to be influenced by a Spanish case referred to the European Court of Justice. A judge in Barcelona has asked the court to rule on whether Uber, the smartphone application for hailing taxis, often unlicensed, should be regulated as a digital or transport service. Meanwhile, the European Commission has launched its own investigation into how to deal with Uber, which will run in parallel with the court case.

Shale’s false dawn shouldn’t obscure the clean electricity revolution

It is impossible to have missed the news on cheap oil and gas, and what it is doing to our economies. A Google search for ‘oil price drop’ shows you what Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc – the big boys – have to say on the subject. And shale plays a key role in both. And indeed, oil costs less than it did in 2008 and 2012. And indeed, this is having a big economic impact. It means that Europe in 2014 saved around 1% of GDP, more than €100 billion, in import bills. A free and welcome boost. But this column is not seeking to add to what Reuters has to say. It wants to offer two other perspectives.

Regulation needed to stimulate electric-vehicle market – report

Electric vehicle (EV) sales grew to 67,000 vehicles in 2014, up from just 700 in 2010, which T&E’s analysis found was partly the result of more major car companies offering EV models in the market. However, they still only represent 0.5% of the total annual sales, in part as a result of limited supply of models (just 20 are available). Some manufacturers – most notably Ford and Fiat – are not supplying any models.

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