Some 35 world leaders have called for shipping emissions to be part of every country’s emissions reductions commitments under the Paris climate agreement. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the leaders’ recognition of the need for economy-wide action, as mandated by the 2015 accord, with shipping being a key sector – responsible for around 3% of global CO2 emissions.
UK flights must abide by EU environmental rules after Brexit if Britain wants to the retain its current level of access to the European aviation market. That’s according to a report by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) which looked at how to ensure environmental protection in the aviation sector continues after the UK leaves the bloc. It recommends that EU rules on the aviation emissions trading system (ETS) and state aid should continue to apply to the UK. This would maintain a check on aviation emissions and prevent increased UK subsidies for airport infrastructure and airlines which would be distortive and detrimental to the environment.
The Dutch government is being taken to court for refusing to publish documents about a controversial CO2 standard for aircraft – in violation of EU law. NGOs Natuur & Milieu and Transport & Environment (T&E) and environmental lawyers ClientEarth say that by withholding decisions and research about the CO2 standard, emission trends, biofuels and offset rules – all of which were drafted or developed behind closed doors at UN aviation agency ICAO – civil society and experts have been prevented from examining claims of ICAO’s effectiveness in addressing aviation’s climate impact.
Since the creation of the European Single Aviation Market, the UK and its airlines have greatly benefited for decades from full access to the European market. This access will cease to exist on 29 March 2019 in the absence of an agreement. Given the current state of Brexit negotiations, the possibility of not reaching a future deal on the aviation relationship would greatly harm the industry, consumers and, particularly, the environment.
The French president has reiterated his call for a European carbon tax on the EU’s borders to guarantee fair competition for companies taking action to reduce their climate impact. The idea – which featured in T&E’s report, Can trade and investment policy support ambitious climate action?, last month – has been gathering momentum and was previously endorsed by IMF chief Christine Lagarde and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman.
Last week I was in Munich for the so-called LKW-Gipfel; a summit of Europe’s truck industry executives. The Gipfel had an impressive line up. But before the CEOs of MAN, IVECO, Volvo and Scania delivered their keynotes, Matthias Wissmann, the German automotive industry’s (VDA) chief lobbyist, was given the stage.
A long-awaited proposal to decarbonise EU cars and vans was met with disappointment last month – except among European carmakers who could barely conceal their satisfaction at an early Christmas present. The European Commission was roundly criticised for presenting a zero-emissions vehicle target with no penalty for non-compliance and an unambitious set of CO2 reduction targets.
Just released emails between Airbus and the European Commission expose the extent of the company’s hold on EU aviation policy. The aeronautics giant was given special privileges in determining essential aspects of the EU’s position when drafting climate rules for new aircraft at the UN aviation body, ICAO.
An environmentally ruinous ‘renewable’ energy target for transport should be continued in 2030, according to members of the European Parliament’s industry committee. The report adopted last week is at odds with that of MEPs on the environment committee who want the target scrapped and a phase-out of the support to crop-based biodiesel in 2030.
Efforts to position electrofuels as the great hope to decarbonise road transport received a blow with findings that the synthetic fuel is neither an efficient or a cost-effective solution for cars and trucks.