Speech to Informal Council of EU Environment Ministers by Jos Dings, executive director, Transport & EnvironmentAmsterdam, 14 April 2016Thank you Madam President for the invitation and for organising this very timely and relevant event.I represent Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based environmental group specialising in sustainable transport, with 50 member organisations in 27 countries across this beautiful continent.
A mobile app that allows travellers to compare journey times between plane, train, bus or car has released a list of 14 major European inter-city routes that are faster by rail than by plane. Train routes between Brussels-Paris and Brussels-London offer the biggest time savings – of more than three hours, according to GoEuro, a two-year-old website.
A Portuguese regional airport that was expanded with large amounts of EU funding has announced plans to turn itself into an aircraft parking facility because demand for the airport has fallen badly short of predictions. The case highlights T&E’s call for greater scrutiny of public money being used to prop up carbon-intensive, underutilised infrastructure with questionable social and economic benefits.
The ICAO standard for new aircraft was agreed in February 2016. The purpose of the standard is to see manufacturers produce aircraft with lower CO2 emissions than would have been the case without the standard. Regrettably that is not going to happen. The measure comes too late and the stringency is too weak. In addition the standard will not impact the plans of Airbus and Boeing whose aircraft combined account for over 90% of aviation emissions. A last minute addition means that both manufacturers can continue producing less fuel efficient aircraft until 2028 or even longer. Europe should call immediately for the standard to be revised or reject it outright.
In this letter, the members of the Coalition for Higher Ambition – businesses, cities, trade unions and civil society groups – write to the heads of states and governments ahead of the signing ceremony of the Paris agreement on Friday, 22 April. The coalition urges the EU to adjust 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas reductions targets to the long-term goals of the Paris agreement. It also highlights the need for strong economy-wide EU targets (including international aviation and shipping).
The European Parliament today called on EU governments to align the 2030 EU climate target with the Paris Agreement and introduce EU measures to cut emissions from aviation and shipping. In a letter sent to Europe’s ministers of transport and environment, the heads of seven political groups of the Parliament's environment committee also demanded greater climate ambition at both ICAO and IMO, the UN bodies charged with regulating emissions from aircraft and ships respectively, and at EU level.
At the close of the Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs), FlightPath 1.5 expressed concern that the current proposals for a global aviation climate deal fall far short of aviation’s fair share of effort towards the global climate goals world leaders agreed in Paris last December.
A coalition of 26 European NGOs has called on European Ministers for Transport and Environment to, at their informal joint meeting next week, support effective measures at international and European level to rein in emissions from international shipping and aviation. Emissions from these sectors are growing rapidly, with aviation responsible for almost 5% of global warming and shipping responsible for 3% of CO2 emissions. Unless action is taken, their growth will undermine the Paris Agreement's objectives. Action must be taken at ICAO and IMO level, and at EU level where the sectors must contribute to the target of reducing emissions by at least 40% by 2030.