In April 2015, Norway reached its goal of bringing 50,000 electric cars onto the streets – three years earlier than planned thanks to a generous scheme of incentives. Today more than 120,000 electric vehicles are driving on Norwegian roads. However, not every incentive works out as it should, so what the European Union can learn from the Scandinavian state?
The poisonous sulphur content of marine fuels is to be capped at 0.5% by the year 2020, a move that is expected to prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, mainly in the developing world. T&E applauded the decision by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which had considered delaying the limit by five years but, after a sustained campaign by environmental groups, stayed with its original deadline.
Governments and carmakers are paving the way for a ‘Petrolgate’ scandal. That warning came from T&E after it obtained documents showing some governments and the car industry are trying to weaken the proposed new EU legislation on measuring particulate emissions from cars in real-world tests. Carmakers are trying to avoid having to pay €25 for a gasoline particulate filter, despite the new petrol fleet endangering human health.
More than 65 countries have signed up to offset, but not reduce, aircraft emissions from international flights, starting in 2021. However, participation in the scheme until 2027 is voluntary and its coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry. The European Commission will now examine the agreement and decide what action to recommend be taken in light of the current suspension of the emissions trading system’s (ETS) coverage of flights into and out of Europe.
Campaigners in Poland believe they are close to persuading the government to expand the country’s road toll system for lorries. T&E’s Polish member Inspro is pushing for the existing system to become totally CO2-based – thereby discouraging the use of highly polluting lorries – and knows the Polish government is generally in favour of expanding road tolls, but it is still seeking the political will. The issue is important because the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Eurovignette directive next year could allow CO2-based tolling.
The European Commission has proposed a mandatory Transparency Register aimed at allowing the public to know which decision-makers are meeting with which lobbyists. The proposal extends existing rules on declaring lobbying to MEPs and the Council of Ministers, but a leading anti-corruption NGO says the changes are ‘timid and cosmetic’.
The aviation sector could be doing twice as much to reduce the fuel consumption of planes than is currently expected. That’s the finding of a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) which says new aircraft could be consuming 25% less than they do now within eight years and 40% less in 18 years.
A regional government in Germany has been ordered to reduce air pollution following a legal complaint by an NGO. One of T&E’s German members, DUH, took the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia to court, and won. The state has until October 2017 to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxides (NO2) in the city of Düsseldorf.