Transport is not the most innovative of sectors so when the top people of Uber, Google, Nokia, Zipcar and BlaBlaCar got together at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig last week, there was an air of excitement. The picture they painted was of a radically different transport system, revolutionized by the internet, mobile phones and autonomous, electric driving. What this could mean for people was captured well by Philippe Crist from the OECD. He estimates the advent of the digital age could reduce the number of cars by an eye-popping 90% in urban areas.
Environmentalists have warned Europe’s policymakers that they need to ensure the environmental integrity of the current EU ETS for aviation is not abandoned in return for nothing from the global aviation industry. The caution followed comments by the airline trade association, IATA, that a global market-based mechanism to tackle aviation’s carbon emissions won’t be ready by 2016 as agreed.
‘Any increase beyond 2 degrees is a death warrant for our countries,’ the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, Tony de Brum, has warned after the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) sidelined his country’s plea for a global CO2 target for shipping.
The US state of Oregon is to start an experiment in replacing fuel taxes with a distance-based charge. The experiment could be the start of a US-wide switch to ‘pay-per-mile’ charging, but buyers of fuel-efficient cars say the new scheme discriminates against the investments they have made in cleaner technology, and civil liberties groups say they have concerns about the satellite data that would be collected.
Six of the largest oil and gas companies in Europe have called for the UN to let them help devise a global carbon pricing system. Responding to rising pressure ahead of the Paris climate talks at the end of this year, the chief executives of Royal Dutch Shell, BP and BG Group from the UK, France’s Total, Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Eni have sought direct talks with governments.
It’s true to say, as Grist.org’s Ben Adler does, that fuel taxes play a critical role in cleaning up road transport but we’re not in agreement that this necessarily makes road pricing a bad idea. From our perspective, we’d rather see it as a complementary measure.
A fuel tax agreement operates in the US and Canada which is known as the International Fuel Tax Agreement, or IFTA. Under the IFTA, truck operators (hauliers) record distance travelled and fuel consumed within each state/province (jurisdiction). Tax paid where fuel is purchased is later reconciled against actual use. Thanks to this reconciliation process, hauliers obtain a rebate from some jurisdictions and pay additional taxes to others.
Saudi Arabian Airlines has paid a €1.4 million fine levied by a Belgian regional government for not complying with the EU’s aviation emissions trading system (ETS), prompting calls for all member states to disclose non-European airlines in breach of the rules. Countries are required to do so under a 2008 EU law.
This paper, as well as the attached explanatory briefing, attempts to quantify the challenge for EU member states in reducing transport emissions under the expected 2030 ‘effort sharing decision’ (ESD) and the extent to which CO2 standards for cars, vans and trucks can help achieve those targets. It makes very clear what the impacts are of mandating, or not, improved vehicle efficiency.