In October 2012 the European Commission launched a public consultation on 'Review of existing legislation on VAT reduced rates'. T&E has been campaigning to abolish the reduced rates for international passenger transport for years due to the harmful competitive distortions caused by those rates and the implicit subsidy it provides for passenger transport, especially in the aviation sector.
A record number of ships have used the Northern Sea Route, highlighting and worsening the effects of Arctic melting. The number of ships using the Arctic shortcut between Europe and Asia has increased 10 times in the past two years, and this year 46 ships carrying a record 1.26 million tonnes of cargo – about half of it petroleum products – used the route for more months than it has ever been passable.
Environmental groups have criticised a long-awaited Commission announcement on greenhouse gases from shipping. A coalition of NGOs headed by T&E has welcomed forthcoming measures to monitor emissions from maritime transport, but says they should not mask the fact that the EU is taking no action to cut such emissions, despite the presence of numerous cost-effective options for doing so.
The European Commission has announced today that it will propose, in early 2013, measures to monitor, verify and report on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from shipping. This measure will apply to all ships calling at EU ports and could also be the basis for a global approach towards cleaner shipping. This is an important prerequisite to further action and NGOs Transport & Environment and Seas At Risk call on EU states to proceed quickly to implement this measure and ensure that information on ship efficiency is shared transparently.
Shipping activities are set to increase as the melting of Arctic ice accelerates. This will lead to increased emissions which will exacerbate Arctic melting and pose a growing threat to the environment in the region. In a new report published today, entitled ‘Troubled Waters’ (1), sustainable transport campaigners T&E sound the alarm making recommendations on how to reduce the impact of shipping in the Arctic and urging the EU to take serious action to ensure the unique Arctic ecosystem survives.