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Commission defends €3bn annual subsidies for low-cost airlines

The European Commission today published new draft guidelines [1] that will allow regional airports and EU carriers serving them to keep receiving subsidies worth €3bn a year. In a good number of cases [2] these rules prop up unprofitable regional airports and low-cost carriers, allowing them to continue to operate in an unsustainable way which distorts competition between budget and national carriers.  The proposed guidelines also permit the bail out of financially unviable operations for a decade and allow infrastructure aid for building new airports to continue in aeternum.

Consultation response: 2030 climate and energy policy for transport

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

This paper is a response from Transport & Environment to the consultation in the context of the European Commission Green Paper ‘A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies’. The response focuses on the framework for EU climate and energy policies in transport.

Auto-sector innovation could create millions of jobs by 2030 and help revitalize Europe’s growth

Europe could improve its growth prospects and create 500,000 to 1.1 million net additional jobs in 2030 through auto sector innovation. Increased technology to cut fuel consumption would allow the EU to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and deliver between €58 and €83 billion a year in fuel savings for the EU economy by 2030. This shift will achieve the double bonus of mitigating climate change and creating a much-needed economic stimulus.

Europe can and should use its trade muscle for the green cause

Suddenly Karel de Gucht is the most talked-about figure in Brussels. The Belgian trade commissioner is very busy. He is trying to finish a free trade deal with Canada; his boss and Obama are pressing for a deal with the US to be next.  And then there is China – where the direction is towards less, not more, free trade. The EU has just imposed an anti-dumping 12% tariff on Chinese solar panels, with a threat to go to 47%. In its response, China is trying to play the usual divide-and-rule tactic by threatening tariffs on wine (annoying for the French), and luxury cars (annoying for the Germans).

MEPs support sustainability and unsustainability at the same time

MEPs are voting for more sustainability with one hand and unsustainable projects with the other. That is the message from a group of NGOs after MEPs voted to strengthen sustainability safeguards for infrastructure projects that could receive EU funding, but at the same time voted to support certain transport projects that will take Europe further away from its sustainability goals.

MEPs' transport wish list contradicts smarter spending aims

Environmental NGOs from the ‘Coalition for sustainable EU funds’ [1] warn that today’s European Parliament votes on future EU transport spending contradict MEPs' own ambitions for more sustainable spending by approving a Christmas wish list including damaging projects. [2]

The real story behind the latest EEA emissions figures (part 2)

This blog is part 2 of an analysis of 20 years of CO2 emission trends in transport (1990-2010) as recently published by the European Environment Agency. The first blog focused on overall trends, and on aviation and shipping. In this post Jos Dings, T&E director, looks into individual countries’ performance, in particular when set next to their economic performance, and challenges the common belief that, after all, transport emissions are an almost inevitable by-product of economic growth.

Lagarde calls for a ‘green economy’, and supports carbon charges for transport

The head of the International Monetary Fund has said the economic growth needed to get the world’s economies back to health must be ‘on a different track than before the crisis’. Christine Lagarde’s comments came just after a number of ex-finance ministers wrote to today’s European finance ministers, asking them to shift the burden from income tax and VAT on to carbon and energy taxes.

Q: When is a rail project not a rail project? A: When it's meant to get people into planes.

The EU should not be funding airport projects, or dressing up airport express train links as green "intermodal hubs" says T&E's deputy director Nina Renshaw.

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