The rapid growth of renewable energy has reached a new milestone, with renewable sources contributing more than two-thirds of new power added to the world’s electricity supply in 2016. The figures come from the International Energy Agency, whose director described them as ‘the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics’.
An enforceable set of sustainable development requirements should be written into all free trade agreements that the EU concludes. That is the recommendation from a paper by T&E which draws on research conducted two years ago when discussions on the ‘TTIP’ EU-US trade deal were at their height.
The bodies that enforce the Aarhus Convention, which guarantees public access to information and justice in environmental matters, have ruled that the EU is not compliant with the convention and is showing a lack of respect for the rule of law on environmental justice.
A new report on Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions says the EU must take action to get transport under control. The report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows average long-term emissions are going down, but road, ship and air transport are still dragging down the overall achievement, and contributed to a small rise in 2015.
The controversial EU-Canada free trade agreement (CETA) has received the backing it needs to provisionally enter into force on 1 March. Last week the European Parliament voted in favour of the deal by 408 to 254 votes – despite serious concerns that it privileges private investors and does nothing to support Europe and Canada’s climate commitments.
A year on from the Paris climate accord, the EU is putting its attention into mechanisms to reduce Europe’s greenhouse gases. The biggest of these climate laws, the so-called Effort-Sharing Regulation, is now under attack from a group of governments led by Italy and Poland. The push to halve the EU’s 2030 climate efforts comes as a new report says transport, buildings and agriculture emissions would need to be close to zero in 2050 to keep global warming below 2°C.
A total decarbonisation of the transport sector is possible. So says the findings of a 10-year German government-led project to find practical ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Spearheaded by the Öko-Institut, the ‘Renewbility’ project looked at solutions for all of Europe and its work was supported by German and Swiss-based research institutions but also by T&E’s German member VCD.
The European Commission has proposed a mandatory Transparency Register aimed at allowing the public to know which decision-makers are meeting with which lobbyists. The proposal extends existing rules on declaring lobbying to MEPs and the Council of Ministers, but a leading anti-corruption NGO says the changes are ‘timid and cosmetic’.
Last year I learned that the so-called 2030 ‘Effort Sharing Decision’ (ESD) for which the Commission will be making a proposal before Summer 2016, can be extremely important for reducing emissions in the transport sector.