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Time to stop subsidising the most polluting form of transport

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Opinion By Jos Dings - T&E Director
Late last month, the World Trade Organisation told the USA and the EU what it thinks of US subsidies to Boeing (story, page 2). Last June, the WTO delivered a similar verdict on EU subsidies to Airbus. Of course both sides claim that the other’s subsidies are worse – we can’t yet check these claims because the WTO report won’t be published for another few weeks, but it is clear that Airbus received more taxpayer-backed ‘sweet’ loans, while Boeing received more direct subsidies, which are generally recognised as very distorting.

Sowing the seeds of smarter transport policy

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Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E Director
Did we miss something? Last year, the European Commission didn’t propose a single new legislative measure to clean up transport. To be fair, it has been spending most of its time worrying about the future of the Eurozone. As a result, for T&E this was the sort of year where seeds for smarter transport policy were sown. We’re optimistic that next year could bring a decent crop of positive changes.

T&E paper highlights full picture of transport emissions

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The gulf between the transport sector’s increased greenhouse gas emissions and cuts from other sectors grew again in 2008. And aviation and shipping’s share of transport emissions rose from 18% in 2007 to 24% in 2008. These are two findings from T&E’s latest report on transport emissions.

Transport emissions up 34% since 1990

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Annual data compiled by the EEA and submitted to the UNFCCC on the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions usually leave out emissions from international shipping and aviation (so-called “bunkers”).
To complement the 2008 data, T&E wrote an analysis which includes shipping and aviation figures and aims at clarifying the actual contribution of the transport sector to the EU’s CO2 emissions.

Fight to reduce air travel's impact made harder at global aviation summit

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European plans to tackle air transport’s climate impact moved a step closer, but also risked being watered down, at this month’s general assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The European Union appeared to signal that the terms of aviation’s entry into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) might be weakened, and the EU’s transport commissioner even talked about exempting incoming flights to Europe from the scheme. Yet these concessions allowed the EU to successfully fight off an American-led attempt to stop emissions trading in aviation from happening.

ICAO grounded, IMO adrift - EU must act!

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OpinionBy Bill Hemmings
- T&E Programme Manager A trip to the beautiful Canadian city of Montreal would normally be a pleasure, but few who attended this month’s general assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will remember their trip fondly. It’s tempting to thank one’s lucky stars that these assemblies only take place every three years, but the urgent need to combat aviation’s contribution to climate change makes that no blessing. The situation is as complicated as it is frustrating, but it’s important to take a step back from the wrangling in corridors and backrooms, and think clearly about what needs to be done, not just with aviation but also with its bedfellow, international shipping.

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