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?’
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.
Growth in emissions from shipping and aviation will undo nearly half (43%) of the savings expected to be made by the rest of transport in Europe through to 2030, a new independent study has found. It means that almost half of the already-inadequate emissions savings expected in land transport will be cancelled out by ships and planes, according to the report commissioned by sustainable group Transport & Environment (T&E).
This report analyses the demand for liquid fossil fuels in the EU transport sector over the years 2010 to 2030, notably for the sectors maritime transport and aviation. The estimations are based on figures published in the EU energy transport and GHG trends to 2050 - reference scenario for 2013 that accompanied the 2030 climate package Impact Assessment of the European Commission, as well as on the analysis underlying the European Commission’s Impact Assessment on MRV regulation for the maritime transport sector.
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?
Today’s decision by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to cap the sulphur content of marine fuels sold worldwide at 0.5% by 2020 has been applauded by environmental groups Transport & Environment and Seas At Risk, which are members of the Clean Shipping Coalition. This will reduce SO2 emissions – which cause premature deaths from diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease – from shipping by 85% compared with today’s levels.
Today’s decision to offset but not reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft, and on a voluntary basis, is a weak start which must be followed with more effective measures by states to rein in aviation emissions, Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The deal’s coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry, and the lack of clear rules for offsets presents a clear risk to the measure’s environmental effectiveness.
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.”
Today’s finding by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it will regulate US greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft is an opportunity for bilateral action between America and the EU to reduce aviation’s growing climate impact, Transport & Environment has said. The Brussels-based sustainable transport group welcomed the EPA’s decision to set a CO2 standard that is “at least” equivalent to the one agreed at UN-level.