In today's Financial Times, Jos Dings, director of T&E, writes:
The failure of carmakers to live up to the commitment they made to the European Union to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars highlights a clear case of market failure. Regulation is therefore a first best, not the "third-best policy" as you describe it in your editorial "Curbing emissions" (February 12).
The European Commission has proposed to weaken an eleven-year-old climate target for new cars just five days after the global scientific community warned policymakers to take serious and urgent action on climate change. The Commission plans to introduce a legally binding target for average CO2 emissions from new cars of 130 grammes per kilometer, ten grammes more than than the standing target of 120 g/km set in 1996.
Europe has taken one step forward and one step back in the fight against global climate change today according to three leading environmental groups. BirdLife International, the European Environment Bureau (EEB) and Transport and Environment (T&E) have welcomed EU plans to introduce carbon reduction targets for transport fuels but slammed the failure to announce a legally-binding target for car fuel-efficiency following high-level intervention by the German car industry last week.
The directors of ten leading environmental NGOs have co-signed a letter to Commission President Barroso calling on him to bring forward binding legislation on cars and climate change. The letter follows Barroso's intervention this week to postpone a planned review of the EU strategy on reducing CO2 from cars.
The European Union has proposed to almost double the proportion of biofuels used in transport but has no idea how much this will actually reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Meanwhile Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday announced an innovative plan to cut CO2 emissions from the production and use of all fuels used for cars by 10% in the state of California.
European Commission plans to integrate air transport into the EU emissions trading system are too weak to substantially reduce the climate impact of the sector according to T&E, a network of sustainable transport groups. T&E calculates that the effect of the proposed system will be to reduce aviation emissions by just 3% which is equivalent to less than one year's growth of the sector's emissions (1). To be effective, the scheme must be accompanied by additional measures applied to all other sectors such as a tax on fuel and VAT on tickets.
The European Parliament has voted on new vehicle emissions standards (Euro 5 /6) in a compromise deal with ministers that allows makers of gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUVs) an extra three years to comply.
The EU should make more efficient use of existing transport infrastructure and overhaul the way it decides what infrastructure projects to invest in to make the process fully transparent and economically sound according to T&E Director Jos Dings speaking at today's high-level European Commission conference on the future of rail.