This article was first published by Oxford Energy ForumOn the back of the Paris climate deal and record high global temperatures, Europe is slowly crawling towards a 2030 low-carbon strategy for transport. Later this year the European Commission is supposed to present a strategy paper, followed by concrete policy initiatives over the next year or so. This article looks into what Europe has done so far in the context of 2020 initiatives and what the key lessons are for the forthcoming action with timeline 2030.
The European Commission today published a proposal to improve the system for national authorities approving cars to be sold in all 28 EU member states. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the Commission’s constructive and timely attempt to bring into line carmakers who, for decades, have actively undermined the approval system circumventing regulation and damaging public health, safety and the climate.
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.
Air pollution is costing more than $160 billion (€143 billion) a year in lost productivity, according to new data released by the World Bank. The data also show that air pollution has its greatest impact in poorer countries.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.
Transport & Environment's reaction to the Parliament hearing for Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete.
Despite three-hours of grilling by MEPs of the Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete failed to explain how there is no conflict of interest with his brother-in-law Miguel Domecq Solís being a director of two oil companies.
The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.
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.
European motorists will see their fuel bills increase by €775 over the lifetime of their cars because of weakened CO2 limits agreed today by the 28 European governments . This additional fuel consumption will cause approximately 50 million tonnes of extra CO2 emissions.