The rising scepticism about a global measure to partially offset aviation emissions was underscored this month with MEPs demanding a review in 2019 of the UN’s voluntary scheme, known as CORSIA. The European Parliament environment committee’s call for the review highlights Europe’s need to maintain an environmentally meaningful and strengthened regional measure, T&E said. The committee also voted to strengthen the EU emissions trading system’s (ETS) provisions on aviation.
The UK will end sales of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, the government has said in response to the threat to public health from rising levels of NOx emissions. The pledge follows a similar move in France and is part of the UK government’s clean air plan, which it was required to bring forward after a legal challenge by NGO Client Earth.
The European Commission has hinted that it might set quotas for carmakers to have a percentage of their fleet made up of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Brussels is working on a revision of CO2 limits from cars and vans, and comments from an official confirm that a ZEV quota is under consideration. T&E has welcomed the development.
A leaked letter shows the EU industry commissioner has issued a stark warning to transport ministers that the consequences of the Dieselgate scandal, and the failure to clean up dirty diesel cars still on our roads, are contributing to a city air pollution crisis. The leaked letter, seen by Transport & Environment (T&E), stresses the need for carmakers to “rapidly reduce” NOx emissions of the diesel fleet in Europe; and that in the absence of this cities are being increasingly forced to resort to “local diesel bans”.
Choked with toxic fumes, more and more cities across Europe are planning diesel bans. Even the iconic homes of Daimler and BMW, Stuttgart and Munich respectively, are considering the step in light of the high real-world emissions of nitrogen oxides. But German regional and national governments are striking back and partnering with the German car industry against the health of citizens to promote diesel as “clean”.
The recent Belgium TV expose has opened a new debate about how “clean” diesel cars really are in the real world and the effectiveness of both the emissions testing and car approval system.
There are 35 million dirty diesel cars and vans driving on Europe’s roads today – six million more than when the Dieselgate scandal broke in 2015. The growth in the number of poisonous vehicles in the fleet – revealed by new T&E research – will be a stark reminder to MEPs as they enter negotiations with governments this September to reform the flawed system of testing and approving cars for sale in Europe.
The EU and China have reacted to US president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord by agreeing to cooperate to ensure aviation and shipping play their part in tackling climate change. T&E has welcomed the agreement, but fears the US withdrawal will slow down progress in shipping. Such a worrying sentiment was felt within the shipping industry, too.
In recent years, there have been numerous examples of member states hiding behind Brussels’ procedures such as the opaque comitology procedure. Member states managed to significantly weaken implementing legislation, such as air pollution limits, or refusing to take a decision at all. It was up to the Commission to take a final, often unpopular decision - for which the Commission was then blamed - which led to the infamous Brussels Blame Game. As a response, Commission president Juncker proposed a targeted reform of the Comitology Regulation 182/2011.