The prospect of Volkswagen being fined $18 billion for manipulating air pollution tests in the US caused its shares to fall 22% and is sending shock waves through the automotive industry. VW has been ordered to recall nearly 500,000 cars, meaning a massive bill to correct the vehicles and potential class action claims for compensation. After initially refusing to comment, CEO Winterkorn issued a statement saying he was “very sorry”. The evidence suggests he will not be the last head of a carmaker offering apologies in the next few months as other manufacturers will be found making use of “defeat devices” for tricking laboratory tests.
The gripping Solar Impulse flight, and the news that Airbus has patented a plane that can fly from Paris to Tokyo in under 3 hours, shows that 100 years after the Wright Brothers, the aviation industry remains one of the few industries that can ignite our imagination with new ideas. It's essential though that this deep commitment to innovation is fully targeted at cleaning up of air travel.
When people think about American trucks, the image that springs to mind is a massive Coca-Cola truck with a big nose. These massive rigs don’t seem particularly efficient and for a long time Europeans made fun of the big-nosed US mammoths. Some European manufacturers even boasted about how they sold out-dated technology in the US. This is about to change.
As the crowds admire all the new aircraft and high-tech displays at Paris Bourget this week, it's important to remember that the aviation sector faces a serious and growing challenge if it is to adequately rise to the climate change challenge.
The European Commission’s latest contribution on the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) scheme is a disappointing, recycled 12-page document that visibly struggles with the contradiction that is inherent in claiming that ISDS under the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA) is of the highest standard while also acknowledging that the problems with ISDS under TTIP are far from resolved.
The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) was first proposed in early 2007 as part of the so-called “integrated approach”, to ensure that the oil industry would also contribute to the fight against climate change. Its implementation has been frequently and quietly delayed until the end of 2014 due to massive amount of lobbying by oil interests.
This blogpost was first published in EurActiv.The UNFCCC negotiating text took an important step forward last week with the inclusion in the text of wording calling for the setting of emission reduction targets for international shipping and aviation, in the context of the objective of the agreement – which is to limit any temperature increase to 2 degrees.
In the final years of negotiations for the new climate agreement, it’s still not clear if it will include the fastest growing emissions sources — international aviation and shipping, also known as bunker fuels.
The latest round of climate talks concluded in Lima last month with a sense that some of the basics have been agreed to set the foundations of a global agreement in Paris next year. While the final outcome fell short of expectations, all parties seem to have accepted in principal the need to curb their emissions to keep an increase in global temperature below 2C. However, the two international sectors, aviation and shipping - the emissions of which have not been allocated to parties - seem to be the exception.