This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
This report, released on the first anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal, exposes the shocking number of dirty diesel cars on the EU’s roads and the feeble regulation of cars by national authorities that have focused on protecting their own commercial interests or those of domestic carmakers. In the US, following the disclosure that VW had cheated emissions tests, justice has been swiftly and effectively delivered. This is in stark contrast to Europe where VW claims it has not acted illegally, no penalties have been levied and no compensation has been provided to customers.
Carmakers are failing to achieve their own targets for sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid models as they do not increase the offer of these vehicles fast enough. While manufacturers complain about a lack of recharging infrastructure and incentives, this report by T&E makes it clear that they could have done significantly more to meet their own goals.
When the European Commission published its five-year ‘Trade for All Strategy’ in October 2015, there was hope that trade policy could be overhauled. Building on our analysis of the ‘Trade for All Strategy’ from February 2016, we have graded the Commission's achievements to date. Our overall assessment gives the Commission a D grade. Although some good progress was made, there is significant room for improvement. We acknowledge that while the Commission’s attitude is going in the right direction, application of the real deliverables remains to be seen.
Sustainable development has become one of the EU’s essential goals and is now a guiding principle for both its internal and external policies. As part of this ambition, the European Commission includes specific chapters on Trade and Sustainable Development in all free trade agreements (FTA) that it concludes with third country partners. Due to the controversy surrounding trade in recent years (for example, TTIP and CETA), the European Commission has started to recognise that there needs to be stronger coherence between trade and development policies. This paper looks at how the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters could play a crucial role in this.
The European Union and the United Kingdom are negotiating an agreement to ensure the UK’s orderly exit out of the Union and to agree on their future relationship. During the current Brexit negotiations, the European Commission has stated multiple times that its primary focus is on citizens and their rights and as negotiations proceed, the interests of business and market stability will be addressed. But where, then, does the environment feature? This report sets out the guiding principles for putting the environment at the heart of the Brexit talks.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union is presented as one of the most progressive trade agreements ever negotiated. This analysis conducted by legal NGO ClientEarth and T&E looks into a number of key areas in CETA with likely implications for environmental protection.
Electro-mobility offers an unequalled solution to make Europe’s transport more efficient and less polluting. But the market for electric vehicles (EVs - both battery and plug-in hybrids) has had several false dawns. Finally in 2015, sales of electric cars reached the important milestone of a 1% market share. Overall electric car sales doubled in 2015 to 145,000. The most recent data in 2016 suggests further growth in 2016. Sales year to date suggest significantly more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles will be sold in Europe this year taking the total number of EVs on the road to more than 500,000.
Nearly three decades after they were first proposed, the pillars of sustainable development are still absent from the EU’s trade policy. Sustainable development is included in the EU’s trade strategies, negotiations and agreements — but in name only. The current approach still falls short of real commitment and ambition.
The gap between petrol and diesel taxes in Europe is quite unique in the world and is the main reason why diesel engines have taken off in Europe and not worldwide. This study analyses fuel price and tax trends since 1980 and adds a specific analysis of diesel tax paid by trucks. It finds that in 2014 the gap in tax levels for diesel and petrol paid by motorists was €0.14/l, which is 30% lower than petrol per unit of energy or tonne of CO2.