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Aviators' boss 'confused' about airline efficiency: the impact of the oil price slide

The rapid slide in oil prices, down 41% since June, has left the aviation industry struggling to defend its continuing high fuel surcharges and continuing reports of record profit. Here is IATA's director general, Tony Tyler, updating his stance on oil prices in light of recent developments.

Scribbling in the margins – biodiesel’s efforts to make itself look good

Sometimes in life, you really need to prove that you’re good at something. Good at running, good at singing, good at football, good at your job. Other times, however, it may seem like it’s enough to just be better than someone else. Yes, maybe I’m not great at my job, but at least I’m better than that guy. Last week, we discovered that the European biodiesel industry is abandoning its attempt to argue that biodiesel is really good for the environment, and is instead focusing on trying to find something that has an even worse carbon performance than biodiesel.

The sweet smell of cartel: why truckmakers oppose cleaner and safer lorries

Margrethe Vestager, European Competition commissioner has announced that she is stepping up the anti-trust and cartel investigation against EU truckmakers. The Commission suspects several truckmakers of price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour. Cartel behaviour hampers innovation in safety and fuel efficiency.

Climate and energy targets finally agreed, but what does it mean for transport?

Last week, the European Council composed of heads of states and governments reached an agreement on the EU’s climate and energy targets for post-2020. We ended up with three targets: greenhouse gas reductions of at least 40% with binding national targets; a 27% target for renewable energy; and a non-binding 27% target for energy efficiency. The deal is fraught with “flexibilities”, and includes significant money transfers to poorer and coal-dependent EU countries. But what does this deal mean for transport?

EU biofuels reform without decarbonisation target is a crop-out

The EU took some small but welcome steps towards reforming its biofuels policy on 13 June when the council of energy ministers agreed a position. Clearly the content of this agreement - food-based biofuels capped at seven per cent of petrol and diesel sold, and weak national targets for advanced biofuels - is far from satisfactory as it is still fails to differentiate among the various types of biofuels and reward those with better environmental performance.

The return of the long-nose lorry

European lorries, and in particular the cabins, look like oversized bricks with flat noses and blunt shapes. That wasn’t always the case. Not so long ago long-nose lorries thundered over European highways just like they do now in the US. However, it seems Brussels is now plotting the comeback of the more aerodynamic cabin.

Biofuels industry learns an old lobby lesson: if you oppose the best, you get the worst

Last week energy ministers voted on the reform of the EU biofuels policy, but failed to come to an agreement. In what the Lithuanian presidency touted as a “fragile compromise”, the major changes to the Commission’s proposal were to increase the cap on biofuels produced from food crops from 5 to 7%, to weaken ILUC reporting, and to offer the possibility for member states to come up with their own sub-target for advanced biofuels that would also count double. T&E joined other NGOs calling for a more ambitious reform and for Member states to look beyond the narrow interests of their domestic biofuel industries and consider the real impacts of this policy on the environment and poor communities.

Shipping: the final EU climate frontier

This comment by Aoife O'Leary was first published by the European Voice. During the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit, it is worth remembering that there is one huge industry that has so far managed to evade any formalised efforts at emissions reductions. Every industry and transport sector in the European Union has greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures in place, except for the shipping sector. The EU has established goals on the emissions reductions it wants to achieve from the sector, but seems to have no intention of enacting anything that will bring it anywhere near those goals, anytime soon.

The 'car chancellor’ should consider drivers and the environment too

This Comment by Greg Archer was first published by EurActiv. The scandal of Germany’s heavy-handed attempts to block an agreed deal on CO2 standards for cars has sunk to new levels with news that BMW’s main shareholding family gifted €690,000 to Chancellor Merkel’s party. The badly timed donation came just a few days before she finally succeeded in pressuring Ireland and Portugal, and bribing the UK to take Germany’s side. Working in tandem with German carmakers (which used the leverage from their plants in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) enough votes were secured to block the deal in a heated session of the Environment Council.

When is ein deal not a deal?

This Comment by Greg Archer was first published by European Voice.The discussion on how to lower the average new car emissions by 2020 has been acrimonious and protracted. Even though improving fuel efficiency is a no-regrets policy with multiple benefits: cheaper motoring costs; improved EU-energy security and the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

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