Earlier this week, Violeta Bulc, the EU’s head of transport, announced plans to develop a Europe-wide scheme to charge lorries and cars for using roads. Bulc clarified that the scheme would be optional, meaning that countries like the UK could opt out if they want to. The Transport Commissioner also stressed that the amount of the fee should be based exclusively on the distance driven and should not be time-dependent, which would bolster more efficient use of roads.
It now seems that the revision of the Energy Tax Directive (ETD) is dead. Given how negotiations have been dragging on for three and a half years while only eating away at everything the Commission proposal sought to achieve, it is probably good to call it a day and start afresh.
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.
Even if carbon prices in Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) trebled from today’s levels , including road transport in the ETS would only reduce oil use and CO2 emissions from transport by 3% over the next 15 years, a new study by Cambridge Econometrics reveals. This level is insufficient for road transport to make a proportionate contribution to Europe’s climate and energy security goals.
This briefing summarises a legal analysis highlighting how the proposals are contrary to the requirements of the current ETS Directive. It also covers new research illustrating why including transport in the ETS would be counterproductive; compared with a scenario of ambitious post-2020 vehicle CO2 standards there would be 160,000 fewer jobs, and €22/77 billion higher oil imports in 2030/2050. Climate policy, as well as transport emissions reductions, would stall.
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.
Many people tend to see the world in a Manichean way. You’ve got the good guys and the bad guys. That’s as true within the environmental movement as anywhere else. So it is perhaps surprising to see that many environmentalists work together with unusual allies. For example, when it comes to car CO2 standards environmentalists and car drivers have the same interest; cleaner, more efficient cars are good for drivers’ pockets and for the climate. That makes the case for them almost irresistible.
The Danish government has asked EU leaders to consider including transport in the emissions trading system (ETS) when they discuss climate and energy targets at a European Council later this month. Campaigners say such a move would actually be counterproductive to reducing emissions in the sector and do nothing to strengthen the ETS.
The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.
Measures that limit the movement of cars in urban areas actually attract public support – if they are understood.