Following the result of the UK referendum to leave the EU, the Green 10 – 10 of the leading environmental networks active at European level – said the result was a blow to the values of openness, inclusiveness, tolerance, respect and commitment to sustainability that the EU represents. In the coming debate on how the EU will live up to these values, it must become better in making the case for the values and benefits EU policies have brought for its citizens’ health and wellbeing, the Green 10’s directors wrote in letter to presidents Juncker, Tusk and Schulz, and Prime Minister Rutte. These include cleaner air, water and beaches, thriving wildlife, safer substances and green energy, to name but a few. These benefits should be communicated loud and clear and all the time.
This is the T&E’s response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the handbook on Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA).
This paper is a six-point reaction to transport-specific elements of a draft Energy Union Communication from 30 January 2015.
Following commissioner hearings at the European Parliament, the Green 10 believes MEPs must reject the Commission unless rigorous changes of mandates, job titles and re-allocation of posts are made along the lines indicated by the Green 10 in the letter to the Conference of Presidents and Conference of Chairs on 3 October 2014.
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.
Transport & Environment and the other members of the Green 10, the alliance of leading environmental NGOs at EU level, wrote to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to express our grave concerns over the direction the EU seems to be taking with the announcement of his new college of Commissioners.
T&E strongly disagrees with the European Commission objectives and approach in relation to the inclusion of investment protection in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) through the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. We believe that the proposed reforms will not solve any fundamental flaws of ISDS, and in our view, they never can, since the whole concept of ISDS undermines the rule of law by bypassing regular courts. Hence, ISDS should be excluded from TTIP and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.
At the end of the 2013 ‘Year of Air’, environmental organisations took a look back at what the European Commission has achieved in terms of air quality and, more importantly, looked ahead to the next steps for 2014 and beyond. With this assessment, Transport & Environment, AirClim, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau, and the Health and Environment Alliance examine where we stand compared to the start of the year and ask whether there are tangible signs of EU action.
NGOs wrote to the incoming Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU stressing the urgency of reaching an ambitious agreement on the issue of biofuels’ adverse impacts on land use, climate change and hunger. Transport & Environment, BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Brot für die Welt, and Oxfam call for a meaningful level of cap for first-generation biofuels, correct carbon accounting that includes indirect land-use change (ILUC), and appropriate support for advanced biofuels.