Many people tend to see the world in a Manichean way. You’ve got the good guys and the bad guys. That’s as true within the environmental movement as anywhere else. So it is perhaps surprising to see that many environmentalists work together with unusual allies. For example, when it comes to car CO2 standards environmentalists and car drivers have the same interest; cleaner, more efficient cars are good for drivers’ pockets and for the climate. That makes the case for them almost irresistible.
Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road.
The Danish government has asked EU leaders to consider including transport in the emissions trading system (ETS) when they discuss climate and energy targets at a European Council later this month. Campaigners say such a move would actually be counterproductive to reducing emissions in the sector and do nothing to strengthen the ETS.
The unofficial capital of Europe is the most congested city in Europe, according to the latest ranking of congested cities, but opinion sampling and a vote in Gothenburg suggest public willingness for tackling congestion is not great.
The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.
Measures that limit the movement of cars in urban areas actually attract public support – if they are understood.
The question of how to tax transit traffic fairly under EU rules is likely to come to the fore after the German transport minister announced a new road toll aimed at non-German vehicles driving on German roads.
The latest figures on carbon dioxide emissions from vans have confirmed EU limits are too weak. European Environment Agency data shows that average CO2 emissions from vans in 2013 were 173.3 grams per kilometre, which is below the 2017 target of 175g.
Carbon emissions of the average van sold in Europe fell 3.8% in 2013 to 173g/km, according to official figures published today by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). This means that Europe’s vans achieved their 2017 target of 175g/km four years ahead of schedule – the result of an extremely weak and unambitious target set in 2010 and confirmed by MEPs in 2013.
Carbon dioxide missions from new cars sold in the EU decreased almost 4% in 2013 compared to the previous year, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). But T&E has warned that the official figures do not match up on the road. While progress has been made by carmakers, flaws in the emissions test exaggerate the improvements, it is claimed.