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.
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.
On 3 July, the Commission released draft new guidelines on State aid to the aviation industry. Citizens have until 25 September to comment. T&E estimate that about €3bn a year goes to the aviation industry across the EU and the Airports Council International (ACI) have estimated that airports under-recover about €4bn in airport costs a year.
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?
The battle to set emissions limits from new cars for 2020 is becoming increasingly bitter. Lobbying by Germany on behalf of its two leading luxury car makers led to the issue being removed from the agenda of a meeting expected to approve a negotiated settlement - an unprecedented move. Germany’s tactics have caused one senior Commission official to express concern about the integrity of the EU decision-making process, while diplomats have talked about ‘rogue behaviour’ by Berlin creating ‘bad blood’ among ministers.
The Commission has published proposals aimed at reducing the amount of taxpayers’ money that goes to airports and airlines. However, the fine print of what is initially a consultation means small airports will continue to receive massive subsidies that often make their way to low-fares airlines, even when such subsidies distort competition between airlines. The consultation is important, because when it is complete the Commission can implement its preferred solution without consulting MEPs.
The Commission has published its long-awaited response to the failure by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to tackle shipping’s contribution to global warming – and it has disappointed environmental groups. The proposal, published last month, is to require the largest ocean-going vessels, which are responsible for 90% of all shipping emissions, to monitor, report and verify their emissions of carbon dioxide, but no reference is made to other harmful emissions such as nitrogen or sulphur oxides, and no incentives or requirements to reduce emissions are included.
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.
The European Commission has published today a proposal to monitor, report and verify (MRV) on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping. This measure will apply to all ships calling at EU ports and could to set the baseline for an eventual measure to actually require emissions reductions. Shipping is responsible for over 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and these will double by 2020 if nothing is done to curb them.
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.