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EU's climate influence extends beyond treaties

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Editorial by Jos Dings, T&E Director

Judging from press coverage of the Copenhagen climate summit, it was not just a disaster for the climate, but also for the EU. Many commentators said that the way the final deal was worked out, with the US and China basically ignoring the EU, was the final proof of the utter irrelevance of the EU on the world stage.

Care needed over rail claims

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A new study has suggested that investing in high-speed rail can bring various benefits, but should not be marketed as a major part of efforts to combat climate change. The study, 'The Future of Interurban Passenger Transport' by the Swedish transport economist Per Kågeson, calculates the effect on emissions from building a new high speed line connecting two major cities 500 kilometres apart. It says there is no reason to prohibit investment in high-speed rail on environmental grounds as long as the carbon gains outweigh the emissions during construction, but the greenhouse gas savings are sufficiently small that it would be wrong to justify such investment as a solution to climate change.

Commission withholding key research on environmental impacts of biofuels

The European Commission is refusing to release scientific research on EU biofuel policies, frustrating efforts to bring to light the environmental damage that would result from current biofuel policies. The research is likely to confirm the findings of numerous scientific studies that show several types of biofuels cause more emissions than conventional fossil fuels (1).

EU must commit to green electric cars

Putting more electric cars on the road could increase carbon emissions unless they run on green energy, says a new independent report commissioned jointly by Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace and Transport & Environment. The environmental organisations call for national renewable electricity targets to ensure electric vehicles are truly ‘zero emissions’.

Analysis: Aviation and Shipping Emissions after Copenhagen

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The outcome of the Copenhagen summit proved extremely disappointing as regards international aviation and shipping emissions. Although more discussion amongst countries on bunker fuels at the UNFCCC occurred in the past three months than during the last ten years, it proved impossible to bridge the continuing differences.