By Jos Dings, executive directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: This piece is not to add to the incredible volume of thoughtful analysis on what made Brexit and Trump possible – let alone to offer a solution. It is about what it means for NGOs in general and T&E in particular, and what we can do now.What it means? Put simply, bad news, and not only because the Brexiteers and Trump are no tree huggers. Green and less green politicians come and go after all.
By Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: 2015 ended with big promises from the UN aviation and shipping bodies, ICAO and the IMO, that they’d finally act to rein in their sectors’ substantial and growing climate impact. It has been almost 20 years since they were first tasked with doing so by the Kyoto Protocol, and 2016 would be their last chance.
By Jelena Simjanovic, clean energy directorWHAT I LEARNED IN 2016: I joined T&E in late summer, soon after the European Commission published its Low-emission Mobility Strategy. Its goals looked promising: increasing efficiency of the transport system; speeding up the development of low-emission alternative energy for transport; and moving towards zero-emission vehicles. While I had a general idea about biofuels and sustainability issues around them, I entered the transport world after 10 years of working on a variety of energy sector issues and carbon markets. I feel privileged to have a job where I can learn as much as I have learned in the past five months, while at the same time utilising my extensive knowledge of the electricity and energy markets for the discussion on transport electrification and development.
By Greg Archer, clean vehicles directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: After many false dawns, 2016 is the year electric cars showed they are on a path to rapidly replacing the infernal combustion engine. There are now more than half a million battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on Europe’s roads, and annual sales are expected to top 1.5% of the market for the first time. While the figures are modest, Dieselgate has created an EV earthquake, shaking carmakers from their complacency.
By William Todts, freight and climate directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: “So what did you learn in 2016? And could you write a blog about it?" asked our communications officer.Silence. My God, where do I start, I thought. First Brexit, then Trump, and before all that there were people bombed on the metro in my hometown. What a year! But I can't write a doom and gloom Christmas blog.Then somehow I started thinking about this one thing that had really surprised me. A year ago I was campaigning to get the EU to introduce truck CO2 standards and, frankly, things weren’t looking great. Yes, there had been the Paris agreement, but still the odds were stacked against us. The Commission just didn't want to budge and the truck industry seemed all-powerful.
In April 2015, Norway reached its goal of bringing 50,000 electric cars onto the streets – three years earlier than planned thanks to a generous scheme of incentives. Today more than 120,000 electric vehicles are driving on Norwegian roads. However, not every incentive works out as it should, so what the European Union can learn from the Scandinavian state?
The poisonous sulphur content of marine fuels is to be capped at 0.5% by the year 2020, a move that is expected to prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, mainly in the developing world. T&E applauded the decision by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which had considered delaying the limit by five years but, after a sustained campaign by environmental groups, stayed with its original deadline.
Governments and carmakers are paving the way for a ‘Petrolgate’ scandal. That warning came from T&E after it obtained documents showing some governments and the car industry are trying to weaken the proposed new EU legislation on measuring particulate emissions from cars in real-world tests. Carmakers are trying to avoid having to pay €25 for a gasoline particulate filter, despite the new petrol fleet endangering human health.
More than 65 countries have signed up to offset, but not reduce, aircraft emissions from international flights, starting in 2021. However, participation in the scheme until 2027 is voluntary and its coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry. The European Commission will now examine the agreement and decide what action to recommend be taken in light of the current suspension of the emissions trading system’s (ETS) coverage of flights into and out of Europe.