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Why do lorry-makers want to run-over the lorry of the future?

This blogpost was first published in the European Voice.Looking back at 2013, it has been a terrible year for those Londoners who decided to cycle around the city. 14 bike-users have been killed so far this year, 9 of them by HGVs, and despite even Olympic cyclists calling for immediate action, nothing concrete has come out of this tragic toll. In wider Europe, the EU estimates that 4,200 people are killed by lorries annually – a disproportionately high number considering how few lorries are on the roads.

Saving lives, saving fuel: a facelift for European lorries

When? 
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 17:00 to 18:30
Where? 
European Parliament
Room ASP 5G-1
1047 Brussels
Belgium

MEP Phil Bennion invites you to participate in a conference debate on the benefits to road safety, cities, hauliers and the environment of proposed updates to the weights and dimensions of lorries. The conference will take place on 29 January from 17h00 - 18h30. The debate will be followed by a cocktail.

10 things that went well for sustainable transport in 2013

Yes, this editorial has an unlikely title. If you have been following us, or the issues we work on, a little bit, the overwhelming impression is that things have been scaled back (emissions-trading aviation), postponed (the Fuel Quality Directive, possibly NOx from ship engines, truck CO2 emissions) and watered down (CO2 from cars, biofuels).

Position paper: Longer and heavier lorries in the EU

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

The introduction of longer and heavier lorries (LHVs) could lead to more CO2 and pollutant emissions, increased road accident risk and higher infrastructure bills for taxpayers. These impacts are contrary to the EU’s objectives to make transport cleaner and safer. By making road transport cheaper, it will also undermine the EU (Transport White Paper) goal of shifting freight to rail. Therefore, T&E believes the introduction of LHVs is unacceptable under the present conditions.

Air time given to climate sceptics criticised

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its fifth report on global warming, concluding it is 95% certain that climate change is human-induced. However, it will not release its detailed analysis of transport’s contribution to climate change until Working Group III’s report on mitigation of climate change is published, possibly in April 2014.

The IPCC findings, published last month, were widely reported, but one of the world’s leading broadcasters, the BBC, has been criticised for giving ‘false balance’ to climate sceptics in its coverage of the report.

Germany blocks vote on agreed CO2 limit for cars – again

In a secret session, European Union member states today delayed for the third time a vote to rubber stamp a deal to limit emissions from new cars to 95g CO2/km by 2020. This June, the European Parliament, the Commission and EU governments struck a fairly negotiated deal confirming the 95g target.

Open letter to the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU calling on the deal on CO2 emissions from cars to be put to a vote

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

In this open letter to the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Transport & Environment and Greenpeace call on the Presidency to fulfil its role as neutral and unbiased chair, follow the wish of the vast majority of member states and the two other EU institutions, and put the agreed deal to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to a vote.

Acting now is cheaper than delaying, two new studies warn

Two new reports have highlighted the dangers of governments delaying action to limit transport emissions. A study from Germany says economic growth will be much harder to achieve if international action to cut climate-changing emissions is not achieved by 2015. And a study from the UK on how carbon emissions from aircraft contribute to global warming has also stressed the importance of acting now, not in several years.

Alpine transport protocol signed

The transport protocol of the Alpine Convention has entered into force in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein and Slovenia, having been ratified by the EU over the summer. The Alpine Convention is an international treaty signed by the eight Alpine countries and the EU, aimed at protecting the Alps. Its transport protocol was agreed in 2000, and has a clause that states: ‘The contracting parties shall refrain from constructing any new large-capacity roads for transalpine transport.’ However, Italy held out against ratification until it was persuaded to sign a year ago, and Switzerland has refused to sign the transport protocol, leaving its legal standing in some doubt.

Plus ça change – transport spending ready for its close-up?

While all eyes in Brussels are usually focused on three leading actors – the Commission, Parliament and Council – there are several other lesser-known EU institutions playing supporting roles. In the wings we have the EU Court of Auditors, which has repeatedly published scathing – and revealing – reviews on the use of EU funds for transport infrastructure. But will the stars of the EU show listen to their critics before the spotlight is turned on the new transport spending policies?

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