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‘Peak oil’ is dead – but the need for urgency is greater than ever

Opinion By Jos Dings - T&E DirectorThe most recent World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency caught more headlines than usual, the main reason being its finding that North America is to become self-sufficient in energy in 20 years due to an expected increase in production of unconventional oil and gas, as well as energy conservation – mainly more efficient cars. This has some serious consequences, also for Europe, and it heightens the responsibility of the world’s politicians to take some meaningful action on climate change, and quickly.

Cheaper car travel not helping environment, says EEA

The economic downturn of the last three years has contributed to some improvements in the impact of Europe’s transport on the environment, but while car transport has remained steady, train travel has decreased, largely because the cost is rising more quickly than the cost of driving.

Linking minimum tax rates with energy and CO2 still proving difficult

The idea of making fuel tax in Europe relate to a fuel’s energy and carbon dioxide content is still struggling to get into the EU Energy Tax Directive. Last month EU finance ministers moved closer to approving a new structure for minimum tax rates for fuels, but most member states opposed any system that would force them to make diesel more expensive than petrol.

Lagarde calls for a ‘green economy’, and supports carbon charges for transport

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.

End of legal challenge to aviation in ETS, but will opposition now move elsewhere?

Sky with contrails

The coalition of American aviation interests that challenged the EU’s right to introduce emissions trading to air transport has abandoned its legal action. A group of six NGOs welcomed the decision, but said the airline coalition’s failure to accept December’s ruling by the European Court of Justice suggests the Americans may be moving the battlefield elsewhere.

Study highlights disadvantages of time-based car ‘vignettes’

Of the seven EU countries to have a ‘vignette’ tax system for cars, Hungary has the best and Slovenia the worst. That’s the finding of a study for the Commission that has looked at the seven existing systems as it is soon to publish draft guidelines for governments on minimum standards for vignettes.

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