EU heads of state today agreed three modest climate and green energy targets for 2030 , which lack the ambition needed to put Europe on track to meet its own 2050 climate commitments  and will not do enough to cut dependence on fossil fuels. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) says that now targets have been agreed, all eyes should turn towards implementation: the means and policies to achieve these 2030 targets can still make a big difference for the climate and the transition to a low-carbon economy where transport is crucial.
In the two European Parliament hearings, which were clearly designed to avoid undue controversy, both Commissioners-designate Maroš Šefčovič and Violeta Bulc displayed a good grasp of their briefs but stayed clear of strong statements, let alone concrete commitments.
Did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? This is because of EU law. And to meet this demand, global production of biofuels has skyrocketed. You may think ‘bio’ means biofuels are always good for the planet. But because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase in their use has a direct impact on agriculture worldwide. That means more deforestation to make way for new agricultural land, releasing the stored-up carbon of rainforests into the air and driving up global food prices. Co-produced by T&E, BirdLife Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau, The Little Book of Biofuels explains this Butterfly Effect of Europe’s biofuels policy and how we can end it.
Following commissioner hearings at the European Parliament, the Green 10 believes MEPs must reject the Commission unless rigorous changes of mandates, job titles and re-allocation of posts are made along the lines indicated by the Green 10 in the letter to the Conference of Presidents and Conference of Chairs on 3 October 2014.
Several transport stakeholders, including civil society organisations and industry players, wrote to EU institutions to highlight the importance of keeping dedicated policies for the decarbonisation of the transport sector. They argued that this policy framework should be based on a decarbonisation target, promoting fuels and energy with the highest carbon savings, avoiding fragmentation of the EU market, and ensuring long-term visibility and stability for investments.
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.
Transport & Environment's statement ahead of Parliament hearing for Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy. Today at 6pm Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy, will be heard by Members of the European Parliament, amid strong concerns about conflicts of interest.
T&E's reaction to the Parliament's hearing of Commissioner-designate for Transport and Space Maroš ŠefčovičToday’s questioning of Commissioner-designate for Transport and Space revealed Maroš Šefčovič to be a capable and experienced Commissioner with a surprisingly good grasp of his brief.
The Green 10, a coalition of the 10 leading environmental organisations active at EU level, wrote to Commission Vice-President designate Frans Timmermans expressing grave concerns over the proposed set-up for the new Commission. The letter notes that none of the vice presidents’ mission letters mention sustainability as a key issue, and the mandate for the Environment Commissioner aims for a freeze and possibly rollback of environmental policies. The new Commission structure would also mean that for the first time in two decades the EU would not have a dedicated Environment Commissioner. There are also serious concerns over conflicts of interest resulting from the current assignment of some portfolios.The letter reiterates the Green 10's four proposals to rebalance this situation: establish a vice-president for sustainability; upgrade the Vice-President for Energy Union to ‘Climate Action and Energy Union’; ensure the full-time environment portfolio is reinstated; and resolve the conflicts of interest.
T&E's reaction to European Parliament's hearing of Commissioner-designate for Environment Mr Karmenu Vella. Today’s two-hour grilling of Commissioner-designate for Environment Mr Karmenu Vella revealed how critically important 'Green 10' demands are for anchoring sustainability higher in the Commission’s organisational chart. A first, important move will be to give one Vice-President the formal responsibility for sustainability, stressing the need for a VP to be held accountable for delivering sustainable development.