Biofuels are top of the EU agenda these days. And that’s not just because we’re headed for the final trilogue discussions on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) but also because of biofuels interfering with Europe’s trade relations. Led by Indonesia and Malaysia a group of countries are threatening the EU with Trump style trade wars after the European Parliament voted to disqualify palm oil biodiesel from the EU’s clean fuels regulation after 2020. At the same time the EU is trying to negotiate a series of trade deals with a number of these countries.
When we talk about transport’s climate problem, we usually talk about cars, trucks, planes and ships as the big issues. But, of course, they’re only part of the story. The heart of the problem is not the vehicles or the mobility they provide, but the pollution they cause by burning oil.
Countries will meet at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law this week, in the UN’s famous New York City building, to discuss modernising the mechanism that enables foreign firms to sue governments for what they perceive as unfair policy measures that can harm future profits. This is commonly known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. The European Commission’s proposal to reform this archaic system will form the core of the discussions.
As the Commission unveiled their 2nd Mobility Package and proposal to cut new car and van CO2 emissions, the latest data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) reconfirms that transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem. Worse, transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU have risen for the third year running.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this last editorial for the T&E Bulletin, having led this wonderful organisation since 2004. The obvious question to ask now is ‘Have we made a difference?’
It’s a question I get asked a lot: so are you having any success in greening transport in Europe? I presume not. There are still an awful lot of cars around, aren’t there?
This letter was first published by the Financial Times on February 19 2014.Sir, it is lazy of the Financial Times to brand critics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as “antitrade campaigners” (“No time to waste on transatlantic trade”, editorial, February 17). Two examples should suffice to illustrate that the controversy around TTIP is not so much about trade as about legitimacy and democracy.
This blog is part 2 of an analysis of 20 years of CO2 emission trends in transport (1990-2010) as recently published by the European Environment Agency. The first blog focused on overall trends, and on aviation and shipping. In this post Jos Dings, T&E director, looks into individual countries’ performance, in particular when set next to their economic performance, and challenges the common belief that, after all, transport emissions are an almost inevitable by-product of economic growth.