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State subsidies for airports set to soar

State subsidies for regional airports and airlines serving them – mainly the low-cost airlines – will be allowed to continue for at least another 10 years, according to the Commission’s finalised guidelines on state aid for airports. The revised guidelines, which cannot now be challenged by MEPs, are ostensibly aimed at streamlining and tightening state aid for airports.

Lorry safety advances under threat after vote delayed

There are concerns for the future of lorry design proposals that would drastically improve road safety, after a vote in the European Parliament was postponed earlier this month. The Transport Committee will not decide until March 18 on the long-awaited rules governing driver visibility, lorry-crash performance and more aerodynamic, emissions-saving design.

30% car-CO2 cut becomes law after MEPs vote

A deal to salvage something of the EU’s post-2015 strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars has been agreed by MEPs. The European Parliament voted this week to approve the original 95 grams per kilometre limit, but by 2021, not 2020 as planned. T&E said the weakening of the Commission’s original proposals was ‘unnecessary’ and would create additional CO2 emissions, but it was still an acceptable deal overall.

Governments urged to make foreign airlines pay for pollution in EU

Foreign airlines that failed to comply with the EU’s aviation emissions trading system (ETS) must be forced to pay for their pollution, environmental NGOs have told authorities in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Free BMW and Audi cars a conflict of interest?

A leading Green MEP has questioned whether sponsorship of the EU presidency by Audi and BMW could represent a conflict of interest. The German luxury carmakers provided free cars to EU member states that were responsible for leading policy negotiations over new carbon emissions targets.

Rail reforms amended

MEPs this week voted to approve rail reforms that would harmonise technical specifications and create a single EU-wide authorisation procedure for rail stock. However, the European Parliament diluted the Commission’s proposal to more clearly separate companies that run rail infrastructure from those that provide freight and passenger services, reversing a previous position by its transport committee.

MEPs stand up for EU aviation efforts

MEPs have sent a signal that Europe should fight back against attempts to reduce its efforts to combat emissions from air transport. The European Parliament’s environment committee has voted to support the Commission’s proposal that all carbon dioxide that aircraft emit in European airspace should be subject to emissions trading, and not simply emissions from intra-EU flights. T&E joined forces with the group of low-fares airlines to support the Commission’s proposal.

Flood of tar sands would dramatically increase Europe’s transport emissions – report

New research from the US has highlighted the dangers for the fight against climate change if the EU does nothing to reduce dependence on dirty oil such as  Canadian tar sands. The US Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says if the EU Fuel Quality Directive is not comprehensively implemented, the amount of tar sands oil imported from Canada by 2020 will be 175 times greater than in 2012. This flood of tar sands would increase the carbon intensity of European fuels by 1.5%, making it more difficult and more expensive to meet the FQD’s 6% target by 2020. 

Report suggests win-win opportunity for ship owners and the environment

The most effective way to reduce carbon emissions from shipping is also the most economic. That is the message from a new study commissioned by T&E and Seas at Risk (SAR) that looks at monitoring and reducing maritime emissions. It says ship operators could save €5-9 million a year if they invested in 21st-century technology.

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