The use of palm oil for EU biofuels dwarfs the amount used to make cookies, hazelnut spreads, ice cream, shampoo, lipsticks – and other food and cosmetic products. That’s according to new industry data which shows diesel cars and trucks burned 51% of all the palm oil used in Europe in 2017.
The European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
Europe’s first greenhouse gas emissions limits for heavy vehicles are set to come into force after MEPs and EU governments completed the legislative process for a new regulation. The regulation will cut CO2 emissions from trucks by 30% by 2030, saving hauliers an estimated €60,000 per truck in the first five years through lower fuel consumption. T&E said the legislation ‘kick-starts road haulage’s shift away from fossil-fuel technology’.
The UK Climate Change Committee, official advisers to the UK government, have recommended that Britain reaches net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In a comprehensive report it acknowledged emissions reduction policies would need to be significantly strengthened. These include considering moving forward the current target of 100% new electric vehicle sales by 2040 forward by up to a decade.
The proposed EU law to reduce deadly blind spots for truck and bus drivers is almost approved, but it must wait for the new European Parliament before completing its legislative passage. Once approved by the 2019-24 Parliament, the law will modernise truck design to allow drivers to see more of the road, including pedestrians and cyclists, and thereby reduce road deaths and injuries.
The Belgian city of Ghent has reported a 12% reduction in rush-hour traffic, and a 25% increase in cyclists in the first year of its new traffic plan. The findings were reported on the second anniversary of the Ghent Circulation Plan coming into force, and coincided with T&E’s member organisations spending a day in the city before their annual general meeting in Brussels.
Efforts to clean up Europe’s transport sector have been boosted by an agreement to spend €7 billion on sustainable infrastructure. T&E says the deal is good news, but says that decision makers have still not grasped the fact that funding fossil gas infrastructure locks us into using a fossil fuel for decades to come.
Truck CO2 emissions should be reduced by 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030, compared to 2019 levels, EU environment ministers have said. They agreed their joint position on the EU’s first ever truck CO2 reduction targets this week and will enter negotiations with the European Parliament and Commission in early 2019.
More weight has been added to the campaign to make large trucks safer for other road users, with a call by Germany’s transport minister that the proposed deadline for introducing safer technology be brought forward.