Fears that a new diesel emissions scandal is already happening across much of Europe have resurfaced following a documentary on German television. The scandal is believed to involve around 20% of lorries operating from eastern Europe, and is generating around 14,000 tonnes of additional nitrogen oxides, making it twice the size of the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal of 2015 that involved the German carmaker Volkswagen.
MEPs from the internal market committee (IMCO) became the latest group to back reform of the flawed and obsolete type approval system for cars which is at the heart of the Dieselgate scandal. The vote came as details emerged of special treatment for Fiat vehicles in tests conducted by Italy’s official investigation into Dieselgate.
EU industry ministers will discuss the key points of contention in the EU vehicle testing reform proposal – issues that national officials have been unable to agree on. These issues will be presented in a progress report by the Maltese Presidency on the “Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles”. The meeting takes place in Brussels, beginning at 10.00 on Monday (20 February 2017). The progress report is item 5 on the agenda.
MEPs’ vote to back the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) today rubberstamps a deal that does not put people or the planet first, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The NGO called on the European Commission to immediately establish a CETA civil society forum to monitor its future implementation, particularly the provisions of the sustainable development chapter.
Today’s vote by MEPs to reform vehicle emissions testing moves Europe one step closer to injecting rigour and independence into its flawed system of car testing, green transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The European Parliament’s internal market committee (IMCO) strengthened the European Commission’s proposal in several key areas including granting unrestricted powers to the Commission to check cars on the road and penalise carmakers as well as national approval authorities not doing their job.
T&E has got hold of Italy’s Dieselgate emissions investigation. The report proves that the home carmaker got special treatment, e.g. Fiat’s cars were tested in carmakers’ own labs and some even “exempted” from undergoing more demanding tests. This shows what is going to happen if type approval rules are not tightened up and all enforcement continues to sit with national authorities.
Today’s vote by MEPs to call for a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO), the dirtiest of all fuel types, by ships when operating in the Arctic has been welcomed by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment. In the event of an oil spill arising from a shipping accident, HFO is impossible to fully clean-up – with catastrophic effects on extremely vulnerable Arctic habitats. But the UN’s maritime body, the IMO, has so far failed to extend the prohibition to the northern polar region.
Today the European Commission published guidelines for member states to interpret the 2007 emissions law and identify illegal defeat devices being used by carmakers to cheat emissions tests. T&E welcomed the move, which will deny governments the excuses they have used for failing to regulate engines emitting poisonous fumes. However, as the guidelines are not applied retroactively, they will not address the millions of polluting cars that have already been sold.
MEPs today missed a vital opportunity to redflag the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) over its flawed investment tribunal system and toothless environment provisions, green group Transport & Environment has said. Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee rejected the rapporteur’s opinion that was highly critical of the deal and its impact on human health and the planet.
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?’