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?’
Food-based biofuels can still be counted towards the EU’s renewable energy target, the European Commission has proposed – in a stunning U-turn on its commitment to phase-out first-generation biofuels that are worse for the climate than fossil fuels. Member states will be able to use a maximum 3.8% share of food-based biofuels in transport towards the Renewable Energy Directive’s target for 2030, barely reduced from the current 4.9% market share at EU level.
Backtracking on its commitment to promote the electrification of transport and a phaseout of food-based biofuels, the European Commission today proposed to keep supporting planet-wrecking biofuels until 2030 and not stimulate the uptake of clean electricity in transport. Moreover, the Commission is setting a target for advanced fuels 15 years in advance, without appropriate sustainability criteria, as if it hasn’t learned a lesson from mistakes with first generation biofuels.
Today’s ruling by the WTO against Washington State on subsidies to Boeing, and an earlier similar ruling on Airbus, officially adds another €5.4 billion ($5.7 billion) to the already very long list of subsidies granted to the aviation sector, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment has said.
The European Commission have earmarked over €100 billion to spend on transport infrastructure in the current EU budget. The Commission also have committed to a 60% reduction in transport emissions before 2050. Meanwhile, transport emissions continue to rise across the continent. European countries have established national climate targets under both the Paris agreement and the ESR. If we are to meet such climate targets then investments will need to be made in order to succeed with our goals. Change goes where the money flows: if we are to decarbonise our transport sector then EU spending will need to play a larger role in ensuring that. Speakers:Branislav Urbanic (The European Court of Auditors)Martin Lange (Umweltbundesamt, The Germany Environment Agency)Stephane Ouaki (DG Move, European Commission)Pia Nieminen (European Investment Bank)Markus Trilling (CAN Europe)Sebastien Godinot (WWF)
In line with its Better Regulation agenda the Commission publishes roadmaps at the very beginning of the legislative process setting out its initial ideas for a legislative proposal. On 1 August 2016 the Commission published its roadmap for a Council Decision proposal authorising the Commission to negotiate a Convention to establish a multilateral court on investment.
A levy on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions with revenues earmarked to fund the uptake of NOx abatement measures is the most promising tool to reduce these ship emissions by up to 70%, a new study by environmental consultancy IVL and CE Delft reveals. The study, commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E), identifies for the first time the policy options available at the EU level to regulate ship NOx emissions in the EU seas and compares them with the measures to be taken under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). In addition to a NOx levy with a fund, the study identified two other EU-level policy tools: mandatory slow steaming of ships (with a levy and fund as an alternative compliance option) and a stand-alone levy on emitted NOx.
In March 2016, the states surrounding the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the English Channel agreed to apply for the designation of these seas as NOx Emission Control Areas (NECAs) under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). An 80% reduction of NOx emissions reduction will be required from new ships only when sailing in NECAs. Other EU seas are not affected.
An agreement between EU governments and the European Parliament on the so-called ‘market pillar’ of the fourth railway package means the plan to open up domestic passenger rail to competition from 2020 will be ratified in autumn 2016 and countries will then have three years to implement it.