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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.

‘Oppose NOx rule delay’

An International Maritime Organisation (IMO) proposal to delay the start of stricter nitrogen oxide standards would undermine the EU’s air quality goals and should be opposed, the European Commission has said. In April, an IMO committee will decide on whether to postpone the 2016 date for the introduction of stricter NOx emissions standards from new ships operating in NOx control areas (NECAs).

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.

Carmakers failing citizens on filters

The health of millions of European citizens is being put at risk by carmakers’ failure to put cheap particle filters on new direct-injection petrol engines. The new engines are more fuel-efficient and emit much less carbon dioxide than traditional petrol engines, but T&E-commissioned testing shows they typically emit around 1,000 times more harmful particles, which cause cancer and pose other threats to human health.

Polar Code ‘lacks ambition’

The International Maritime Organisation earlier this month reached preliminary agreement on a ‘Polar Code’ of safety and environmental rules for ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. But the final draft contains few meaningful environmental provisions, such as requiring vessels to have strengthened hulls or even operate at reduced speed in supposedly ‘ice-free’ waters.

10 things that went well for sustainable transport in 2013

Yes, this editorial has an unlikely title. If you have been following us, or the issues we work on, a little bit, the overwhelming impression is that things have been scaled back (emissions-trading aviation), postponed (the Fuel Quality Directive, possibly NOx from ship engines, truck CO2 emissions) and watered down (CO2 from cars, biofuels).

EU clinging to ‘false euphoria’ about biofuels

Hopes of having the full social and environmental effects of biofuels reflected in EU legislation before 2020 are fading after another round of negotiations led to further weakening of the European Commission’s proposal. With an agreement likely in the Council of Ministers next month, it looks as if the requirement for member states to report the effects of indirect land-use change (ILUC) will be further weakened. Also, food-based biofuels that are worse for climate change than traditional petrol and diesel will be allowed to increase by 50% from today’s levels and will not be capped under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).

Europe renews carmakers’ licence to make noise for decades

A deal between EU officials, MEPs and member states on measures to reduce road noise from vehicles means Europeans will have to wait another 30 years to enjoy a quieter life. The deal, agreed earlier this month, waters down a Commission proposal that had already been criticised for being too weak and too late. T&E says the deal is ‘disgraceful’ as it puts the interests of the carmakers ahead of the health and welfare of Europe’s citizens.

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