T&E Blog

  • Europe’s 2013 climate action: glass empty or almost half full?

    2013 will – again – not go down in the history books as the year that Europe really got serious about tackling transport’s many environmental issues. On the headline level we actually see quite the contrary: the political focus is more on saving existing jobs than creating new ones, and the ‘climate and energy’ discussion is skewed more towards energy than climate than ever before.Geopolitically, Europe is moving towards North America and wants to conclude far-reaching free trade agreements with Canada and the US. There may be many good reasons for this, but we can only hope that a desire to emulate the North American model – relying on cheap and dirty fossil energy – is not one of them.

  • Canada, Big Oil and the Frequently and Quietly Delayed FQD

    It’s March 2014, and we still don’t have a functioning Fuel Quality Directive - the only European law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuel. After 1181 days of delay, the lack of so-called ‘implementing rules’ matters a lot. These rules will determine whether Europe’s oil companies will only blend in biofuels to reduce their emissions, or also look for the ‘cleanest’ possible fossil fuels - which are most certainly not tar sands, to name one example.

  • As it stands, the TTIP could threaten democracy

    This letter was first published by the Financial Times on February 19 2014. Sir, it is lazy of the Financial Times to brand critics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as “antitrade campaigners” (“No time to waste on transatlantic trade”, editorial, February 17). Two examples should suffice to illustrate that the controversy around TTIP is not so much about trade as about legitimacy and democracy.

  • Why do lorry-makers want to run-over the lorry of the future?

    This blogpost was first published in the European Voice.Looking back at 2013, it has been a terrible year for those Londoners who decided to cycle around the city. 14 bike-users have been killed so far this year, 9 of them by HGVs, and despite even Olympic cyclists calling for immediate action, nothing concrete has come out of this tragic toll. In wider Europe, the EU estimates that 4,200 people are killed by lorries annually – a disproportionately high number considering how few lorries are on the roads.

  • Biofuels industry learns an old lobby lesson: if you oppose the best, you get the worst

    Last week energy ministers voted on the reform of the EU biofuels policy, but failed to come to an agreement. In what the Lithuanian presidency touted as a “fragile compromise”, the major changes to the Commission’s proposal were to increase the cap on biofuels produced from food crops from 5 to 7%, to weaken ILUC reporting, and to offer the possibility for member states to come up with their own sub-target for advanced biofuels that would also count double. T&E joined other NGOs calling for a more ambitious reform and for Member states to look beyond the narrow interests of their domestic biofuel industries and consider the real impacts of this policy on the environment and poor communities.

  • When industry makes a racket, citizens end up paying the bill

    It is a sign of the times that even the British Lords in the House of Lords have accepted that noise is a major problem. After recent noisy protests outside their building, some Lords were forced to flee their chambers, while others reported physical illness. For them, the culprit may be noisy protests, but for many people (44% of EU citizens to be more precise), this noise disturbance comes from vehicles.

  • Shipping: the final EU climate frontier

    This comment by Aoife O'Leary was first published by the European Voice. During the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit, it is worth remembering that there is one huge industry that has so far managed to evade any formalised efforts at emissions reductions. Every industry and transport sector in the European Union has greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures in place, except for the shipping sector. The EU has established goals on the emissions reductions it wants to achieve from the sector, but seems to have no intention of enacting anything that will bring it anywhere near those goals, anytime soon.

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