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The role of the Commission in advancing the road pricing agenda cannot be understimated

"The role of the Commission in advancing the road pricing agenda cannot be underestimated", T&E Director Jos Dings stated at the Conference on fair and efficient road pricing organised by the European Commission on 5 Dec:

Road pricing is progressing because the list of its advantages is impressive. No wonder ever more countries in Europe are choosing for road user charging, and we are having a conference about its future.

Stop the Clock: the ETS Aviation Derogation

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The European Commission has proposed a one year “stop the clock” derogation for the aviation portion of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Directive to provide ‘breathing space’ for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to come to a global agreement on regulating international aviation emissions. The derogation applies to all flights to and from Europe (including EFTA states and Croatia) except intra-European flights.T&E regrets that the Commission has been put in this difficult position through international pressure, particularly from the US.

‘Peak oil’ is dead – but the need for urgency is greater than ever

Opinion By Jos Dings - T&E DirectorThe most recent World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency caught more headlines than usual, the main reason being its finding that North America is to become self-sufficient in energy in 20 years due to an expected increase in production of unconventional oil and gas, as well as energy conservation – mainly more efficient cars. This has some serious consequences, also for Europe, and it heightens the responsibility of the world’s politicians to take some meaningful action on climate change, and quickly.

Cheaper car travel not helping environment, says EEA

The economic downturn of the last three years has contributed to some improvements in the impact of Europe’s transport on the environment, but while car transport has remained steady, train travel has decreased, largely because the cost is rising more quickly than the cost of driving.

VAT on international passenger transport

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In October 2012 the European Commission launched a public consultation on 'Review of existing legislation on VAT reduced rates'. T&E has been campaigning to abolish the reduced rates for international passenger transport for years due to the harmful competitive distortions caused by those rates and the implicit subsidy it provides for passenger transport, especially in the aviation sector. 

Troubled Waters - How to protect the Arctic from the growing impact of shipping

As the decline of Arctic sea-ice continues, the prospect of an ice-free Arctic ocean in the near future draws closer. Arctic melting is seen by industry and some governments as an opportunity to develop human and exploitative activities in the region (oil and gas production, mining, shipping, tourism). But while Arctic melting is surely an effect of climate change, it is imperative that it does not become another cause of climate change. This vicious circle threatening the Arctic and the global ecosystems needs to be broken.

Linking minimum tax rates with energy and CO2 still proving difficult

The idea of making fuel tax in Europe relate to a fuel’s energy and carbon dioxide content is still struggling to get into the EU Energy Tax Directive. Last month EU finance ministers moved closer to approving a new structure for minimum tax rates for fuels, but most member states opposed any system that would force them to make diesel more expensive than petrol.

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.

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