Investors seeking ‘sustainable’ investments will have new criteria to guide them, according to a new EU proposal. An expert group established by the European Commission has drafted requirements and a list of projects to help financial services classify their products and stop ‘greenwashing’, misunderstandings and inconsistencies in environmental investments. T&E has welcomed the list, albeit warning that the proposal has one major flaw that could undermine its credibility.
T&E has joined forces with environmental NGOs in Spain to warn that a high-profile exercise in cleaning up shipping risks locking in fossil fuels for decades to come. The port of Barcelona has committed to investing in infrastructure to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to ships, and last month it celebrated the arrival of its first gas-powered cruise ship as a breakthrough for sustainable tourism. However, a T&E member described it as ‘greenwashing’.
The European Parliament has given a boost to the take-up of electric buses, with a vote that strengthens the bus chapter of the European Commission’s Clean Vehicles Directive. But with elections to the parliament due in May, it is now a race to get the directive approved before the legislative process would have to start again. T&E has since published a report showing that total cost of ownership of e-buses is now almost at parity with diesel buses when health external costs are included.
Powering Europe’s transport with fossil gas – widely known as ‘natural’ gas – would emit as much greenhouse gases as using petrol, diesel or conventional marine fuels, a new T&E report has found. Fossil gas cars also emit as much air pollution as petrol ones and their limited advantage over new diesels that comply with the latest emissions standards could be eliminated by the planned introduction of new Euro VII/7 standards, the research shows. Yet, by taxing gas for transport at a rates much lower than petrol and diesel, European lawmakers are incentivising the use of this fossil fuel.
Which comes first: the electric vehicles or the charging points? This is the central question addressed in a new report by T&E about public infrastructure for charging up e-vehicles, which adds weight to earlier studies showing it is not a lack of charging facilities that is stopping the take-up of e-vehicles but the lack of the vehicles themselves.
The European Commission has announced a commitment to spending at least 60% of the EU’s cross-border infrastructure fund on schemes that help the fight against climate change. T&E has largely welcomed the announcement, though it criticised the proposal to count EU funding for gas projects towards the climate spending goals.
Europe has already spent half a billion US dollars on natural gas infrastructure for its shipping sector in order to comply with an EU law – and continuing its roll-out is likely to cost governments and investors $22 billion by 2050, a new study has found. Liquified natural gas (LNG) will reduce shipping emissions by just 6%, at most, compared to the replaced diesel fuel, the research by the UMAS consultancy shows.
An action plan to drive the production, reuse and recycling of lithium-ion batteries in the EU has been published by the European Commission. T&E has welcomed the strategy, but says parallel measures to ensure carmakers sell a minimum number of electric vehicles are needed if Europe is to make the most out of the economic potential of electric cars.
The European Commision wants 60% of the EU’s key infrastructure fund spent on contributing to climate objectives. It has proposed that the €42 billion Connecting Europe Facility would have €30 billion to co-finance investments in transport, and that funding for electricity transmission, electricity storage, smart grids, renewable energy, rail, and clean urban transport would be considered to be 100% “climate spending”.