Renault is to recall more than 15,000 vehicles and modify up 700,000 more to make sure its engines are in line with emissions standards after raids by French investigators at its headquarters. Environment minister Ségolène Royal said the French firm and other carmakers had not been using defeat device software like Volkswagen but that some of its vehicles did have unacceptably high emissions on the road.
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is undermining attempts to agree an environmentally effective fuel efficiency standard that would apply to new planes worldwide. The warning, from a group of 17 European environmental NGOs, came after it emerged that the EU is pushing for a significantly less ambitious carbon emissions standard for airplanes than the US.
ICAO’s CAEP (environment) committee meets in Montreal this week to decide on a global CO2 (fuel efficiency) standard for new aircraft. The standard has been 6 years in the making and is intended to require aircraft manufacturers to produce new aircraft after an agreed date in the 2020s with a design fuel efficiency better than that which would have happened without the standard. These design fuel efficiency improvements would generate real “in sector” emissions reductions as opposed to ICAO’s plan to use offsets in its global MBM under development which would see aviation emissions unaffected and the “heavy-lifting” done by other sectors of the global economy.
The Paris climate agreement’s target of limiting global warming well below 2°C will be impossible without measures to curb shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions, MEPs told industry representatives last week. Including shipping CO2 in the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) or having the sector contribute to a climate compensation fund were the options on the table, they said.
EU environmental laws on petroleum refining have delivered on their objectives and their costs are in proportion to the societal benefits achieved, a European Commission study has found. The legislation, which includes rules on the sulphur content of fuels and pollution limits from refinery operations, contained 'no regulatory gaps, overlaps, inconsistencies or obsolete measures leading to excessive administrative burdens'.
Last year was the one in which it became plain for everyone to see that transport had turned from being the grey sheep to the black sheep in Europe and the world’s efforts to improve the environment.
In a year when the auto-industry was rocked by the #dieselgate scandal we also learned Volkswagen distorted tests for fuel economy and CO2 emissions as well. It was not surprising; contrary to industry claims of progress on efficiency there had been no real-world progress for a third successive year.
In between sending off the last e-mails, cleaning my desk and trying to recover from the T&E Christmas party, I was asked what I’ll remember from 2015. Lots of things obviously but professionally there’s only one thing that really stands out: the new US truck fuel efficiency regulation.
T&E’s contribution to exposing the failed system of EU car testing has been one of its key campaigns in 2015. The discrepancy between lab tests for dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and those produced on the road was shown to be on average a whopping 500% – and more for some models. But the year was memorable for the unravelling of the biggest emissions scandal in auto-industry history.
While the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) continued its essential work to develop a global market-based mechanism to cut the sector’s emissions, by far the biggest highlight of 2015 was the Paris COP21 summit.