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EU prepares for unilateral shipping action

Plans for the EU to set greenhouse gas emission limits for ships using EU ports moved a step closer last month when the Commission published a new report looking at various ways of charging for maritime emissions. It concludes that emissions trading is the best and most feasible way of providing a financial incentive for reducing shipping's contribution to global warming.

Published on February 15, 2010 - 16:36

Eurovignette

Expanding the EU’s Eurovignette directive to cover pollution, noise and congestion would not disadvantage peripheral member states and would bring net benefits of at least €2.3 billion a year.

Published on February 15, 2010 - 16:22

EU's climate influence extends beyond treaties

Editorial by Jos Dings, T&E Director

Judging from press coverage of the Copenhagen climate summit, it was not just a disaster for the climate, but also for the EU. Many commentators said that the way the final deal was worked out, with the US and China basically ignoring the EU, was the final proof of the utter irrelevance of the EU on the world stage.

Published on February 15, 2010 - 16:12

Shifting ground under tar sands?

The Dutch oil company Shell says it is scaling down its expansion into oil from tar sands, amid signs that the environmental disadvantages of ‘unconventional’ oil sources are leading to fears that such oils could be economically unviable. While Shell says it has confidence in enough conventional sources of oil, soaring costs in the tar sands region of Alberta, where it has invested in an oil project, have made further investment there less attractive.

Published on February 15, 2010 - 16:01

Freight Visions

T&E has written to the Commission’s leading transport official to complain about political interference in the conclusions drawn from a research group on freight transport. The Freight Visions group has included input from a number of NGOs, including T&E, but the draft conclusions differ distinctly from many of the working groups. In a letter to Matthias Ruete, T&E director Jos Dings said, ‘Once again it appears that the research has been politically managed to ensure that conclusions fit neatly with the current policy approach ... It is unacceptable that such a project is approached with a political direction and a reduced level of ambition already in mind.’

Published on February 15, 2010 - 15:58

Care needed over rail claims

A new study has suggested that investing in high-speed rail can bring various benefits, but should not be marketed as a major part of efforts to combat climate change. The study, 'The Future of Interurban Passenger Transport' by the Swedish transport economist Per Kågeson, calculates the effect on emissions from building a new high speed line connecting two major cities 500 kilometres apart. It says there is no reason to prohibit investment in high-speed rail on environmental grounds as long as the carbon gains outweigh the emissions during construction, but the greenhouse gas savings are sufficiently small that it would be wrong to justify such investment as a solution to climate change.

Published on February 15, 2010 - 15:55

Big majority against 'mega-trucks'

An opinion poll in Switzerland has shown 80% of Swiss citizens are against extra long lorries – generally known as 'mega-trucks' – being allowed to use Swiss roads. The poll, carried out by the Link Institute, questioned more than 1200 people, and looked at regional variations, showing 87% against in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. This latest survey combines with similar results from opinion polls in France, Germany and Great Britain, which indicate a majority oppose 60-tonne lorries across Europe.

Published on February 15, 2010 - 15:51

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