The Environment Committee of the European Parliament will vote next week on noise limits for vehicles. The compromise proposal put forward by the lead MEP has been drafted by sports car manufacturer Porsche.
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).
The Clean Shipping Coalition and other environmental NGOs wrote to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation expressing concern at recent statements that suggested the IMO Secretariat itself was taking a position to advance the review date for the availability of low-sulphur fuels.
European motorists will see their fuel bills increase by €775 over the lifetime of their cars because of weakened CO2 limits agreed today by the 28 European governments . This additional fuel consumption will cause approximately 50 million tonnes of extra CO2 emissions.
Hopes of having the full social and environmental effects of biofuels reflected in EU legislation before 2020 are fading after another round of negotiations led to further weakening of the European Commission’s proposal. With an agreement likely in the Council of Ministers next month, it looks as if the requirement for member states to report the effects of indirect land-use change (ILUC) will be further weakened. Also, food-based biofuels that are worse for climate change than traditional petrol and diesel will be allowed to increase by 50% from today’s levels and will not be capped under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).
New Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) petrol engines for cars emit more cancer-causing particles than modern diesel engines, a new study by independent vehicle researchers TÜV Nord revealed today. While GDI engines make petrol cars more fuel-efficient and emit less CO2, the findings show that these new petrol engines typically release around 1,000 times more harmful particles than traditional petrol engines and 10 times more than new diesels.
Vehicle tests show that without the use of gasoline particulate filters (GPF) the number of particles emitted from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines is likely to exceed future European emissions limits, known as Euro 6 standards. Nowadays, particle emissions from these new petrol engines are higher than equivalent diesel vehicles. The cost of a filter to eliminate particle emissions is low (around €40), with no fuel economy penalty. Despite this, carmakers are delaying fitting filters on GDI cars and instead rely on manipulating tests. Their reluctance is worsening urban air pollution and reducing the health benefits of the new limits.
The lives of millions of Europeans will be blighted by an increase in road traffic noise for years to come as a weakened vehicle noise deal was approved by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee today. The Committee voted to accept a deal agreed earlier this month by Member States, the Parliament and the Commission. The law now needs to be rubber-stamped by Member States and the full Parliament before entering into force.
This comment by Aoife O'Leary was first published by the European Voice. During the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit, it is worth remembering that there is one huge industry that has so far managed to evade any formalised efforts at emissions reductions. Every industry and transport sector in the European Union has greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures in place, except for the shipping sector. The EU has established goals on the emissions reductions it wants to achieve from the sector, but seems to have no intention of enacting anything that will bring it anywhere near those goals, anytime soon.
A deal between EU officials, MEPs and member states on measures to reduce road noise from vehicles means Europeans will have to wait another 30 years to enjoy a quieter life. The deal, agreed earlier this month, waters down a Commission proposal that had already been criticised for being too weak and too late. T&E says the deal is ‘disgraceful’ as it puts the interests of the carmakers ahead of the health and welfare of Europe’s citizens.