Europe needs a strategy to shift taxes away from labour towards pollution and resource consumption in order to boost innovation and create jobs, according to a new pressure group being set up in Brussels by T&E and other environmental organisations.
Transport & Environment director Jos Dings addressed a hearing in the European Parliament on 4 November, 2014. He laid out T&E's position on European road toll systems for private vehicles, including environmental, financial, technical and privacy concerns. His remarks are available to download.
On 1 November, some key provisions of the Lisbon Treaty enter into force: namely, the root-and-branch reform of the voting weights of member states in the Council of Ministers. Their impact will be quite dramatic.
Spain has announced a €27 billion investment in 43 greenhouse gas reduction measures designed to meet its EU burden sharing obligations and create 45,000 jobs per year. But environmental groups say the proposals do not go far enough.
EU heads of state today agreed three modest climate and green energy targets for 2030 , which lack the ambition needed to put Europe on track to meet its own 2050 climate commitments  and will not do enough to cut dependence on fossil fuels. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) says that now targets have been agreed, all eyes should turn towards implementation: the means and policies to achieve these 2030 targets can still make a big difference for the climate and the transition to a low-carbon economy where transport is crucial.
In the two European Parliament hearings, which were clearly designed to avoid undue controversy, both Commissioners-designate Maroš Šefčovič and Violeta Bulc displayed a good grasp of their briefs but stayed clear of strong statements, let alone concrete commitments.
This briefing summarises a legal analysis highlighting how the proposals are contrary to the requirements of the current ETS Directive. It also covers new research illustrating why including transport in the ETS would be counterproductive; compared with a scenario of ambitious post-2020 vehicle CO2 standards there would be 160,000 fewer jobs, and €22/77 billion higher oil imports in 2030/2050. Climate policy, as well as transport emissions reductions, would stall.
T&E supports an integrated impact assessment that seeks to examine impacts across the economic, environmental and social areas. In July 2014, the European Commission opened a public consultation on the revision of its impact assessment guidelines and asked stakeholders to respond to a questionnaire. In its response, T&E stated its concern that economic impacts – typically on an affected industry – are often assessed in impressive detail while the assessment of environmental and other societal impacts benefits is often incomplete.
T&E's reaction to the Parliament's hearing of Commissioner-designate for Transport and Space Maroš ŠefčovičToday’s questioning of Commissioner-designate for Transport and Space revealed Maroš Šefčovič to be a capable and experienced Commissioner with a surprisingly good grasp of his brief.
The Green 10, a coalition of the 10 leading environmental organisations active at EU level, wrote to Commission Vice-President designate Frans Timmermans expressing grave concerns over the proposed set-up for the new Commission. The letter notes that none of the vice presidents’ mission letters mention sustainability as a key issue, and the mandate for the Environment Commissioner aims for a freeze and possibly rollback of environmental policies. The new Commission structure would also mean that for the first time in two decades the EU would not have a dedicated Environment Commissioner. There are also serious concerns over conflicts of interest resulting from the current assignment of some portfolios.The letter reiterates the Green 10's four proposals to rebalance this situation: establish a vice-president for sustainability; upgrade the Vice-President for Energy Union to ‘Climate Action and Energy Union’; ensure the full-time environment portfolio is reinstated; and resolve the conflicts of interest.