A new report on Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions says the EU must take action to get transport under control. The report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows average long-term emissions are going down, but road, ship and air transport are still dragging down the overall achievement, and contributed to a small rise in 2015.
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.
The widely-held assumption that little can be done to lower agriculture's climate emissions is being challenged by a new independent study. As MEPs debate expanding the use of controversial forestry credits and other loopholes to help sectors such as agriculture and transport meet their climate targets, the Institute for European Environmental Policy says there is significant untapped potential to reduce farming’s impact.
Following remarks by Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary rejecting the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, T&E and Climate Action Network Europe call on Ryanair's European lobbying group, AirlinesforEurope (A4E), and A4E's other member airlines to state publicly whether they side with O'Leary's climate denial or whether they accept the proven link between human activity and a warming planet.With aviation emissions continuing to soar – up 8% in Europe alone in 2016 – and governments struggling to introduce effective measures to rein them in, there is a strong public and consumer interest in knowing whether European airlines accept the need to take action on climate change or are intent on identifying with the diminishing band of climate deniers. National and European decision makers should also know where airlines stand on the issue of climate change when they are being intensively lobbied by airlines on the issue.
Two leading European figures have condemned the decision by Hungary’s government to label non-government organisations ‘foreign agents’, and has criticised them for using ‘accusatory rhetoric which stigmatises the NGOs’. The comments follow the announcement last autumn that the Hungarian government wants to ‘sweep away’ certain NGOs, and that it had accused 22 of them of illegal activities.
A joint plenary letter, on behalf of POLIS, HEAL, EEB, ClientEarth and Transport & Environment, calling for the establishment of an independent EU authority to check vehicles as part of the Type Approval reform.
The role of Southern and Mediterranean European countries in these processes is important, as they have the power to weigh in favour of ambitious reforms. Facing similar climate challenges at the national level, they can also set an example by promoting innovative and progressive practices that can inform European policy processes, and especially the ESR.
The EU’s Environment Council meets Tuesday to discuss Europe’s emissions trading system. The EU ETS is often described as the “flagship” of Europe’s climate policy and is currently the largest carbon market in the world. However it has been malfunctioning since a systematic oversupply of credits built up as a result of both Europe’s economic crisis and weak ambition in setting the cap when the ETS was first established.
· MEPs also back tightening cap on aviation emissions.Support from ports and cargo owners for last week’s vote by MEPs to include shipping emissions in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been sharply criticised by shipowners. The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) said it ‘deplores’ the shipping industry’s backing for Europe regulating ship CO2 as a ‘first move’ to kick start action at global level. Shipping in Europe has CO2 emissions equal those of the Netherlands.