America has a new president. And what a start he's gotten off to! His first weeks confirm our worst fears about what a Trump presidency will be like, in particular for the environment. Automotive regulation could be one of the areas most affected, as carmakers demand Trump guts Obama's 2025 CO2 standards in exchange for bringing back jobs to the US.
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?’
ICAO is about to proclaim mission accomplished in its 20-year search to appear relevant in the fight against aviation climate change. An impressive list of ministers and notables has gathered in the organisation’s Montreal headquarters to help break out the champagne. Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, leading the EU delegation, summed up the aim: “To defend the deal on the table as the lowest common denominator, that is our target.”
We all know the numbers by now. By 2030 GHG emissions in the EU need to drop 40% compared to 1990. For the traded sectors that means a 43% cut, for the non-traded sectors it requires a 30% cut – both compared to 2005. That was what the EU heads of states agreed in 2014. The 2030 climate targets were agreed before the Paris climate deal.
It’s time to break the mantra that reducing the sector's climate impact will be costlyThe EU has agreed to reduce emissions from all sectors by 2030. If transport would do its fair share, it would need to reduce its emissions by 30% compared to 2005. However, certain policymakers and modellers think the transport sector should be given an easy ride.
Speech to Informal Council of EU Environment Ministers by Jos Dings, executive director, Transport & EnvironmentAmsterdam, 14 April 2016Thank you Madam President for the invitation and for organising this very timely and relevant event.I represent Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based environmental group specialising in sustainable transport, with 50 member organisations in 27 countries across this beautiful continent.
It’s true to say, as Grist.org’s Ben Adler does, that fuel taxes play a critical role in cleaning up road transport but we’re not in agreement that this necessarily makes road pricing a bad idea. From our perspective, we’d rather see it as a complementary measure.
Ending the generous tax exemptions aviation enjoys would create a level playing field between all transport modes, help meet our 2030 climate targets, and answer the EU’s call for a shift away from labour taxation.
In the final years of negotiations for the new climate agreement, it’s still not clear if it will include the fastest growing emissions sources — international aviation and shipping, also known as bunker fuels.
The latest round of climate talks concluded in Lima last month with a sense that some of the basics have been agreed to set the foundations of a global agreement in Paris next year. While the final outcome fell short of expectations, all parties seem to have accepted in principal the need to curb their emissions to keep an increase in global temperature below 2C. However, the two international sectors, aviation and shipping - the emissions of which have not been allocated to parties - seem to be the exception.