This is the third in a series of eight snippets about how to decarbonise land freight by 2050. Based on a new T&E study, the series will culminate in a public debate in Brussels in September.
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.
The ability of rail freight to reduce congestion and pollution on roads is far greater than previously thought, according to figures from one of T&E’s British member organisations. The figures suggest that integrated rail and road planning is a better option for reducing the environmental impact of road transport than expanding road capacity.
The former EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard has warned that the proposed agreement to stabilise emissions from aircraft will only work if all the details are transparent. Writing on the Climate Home website, she said without transparency there is a risk that airlines will offset their growing greenhouse gas emissions against projects that either don’t do enough to combat climate change or are being ‘double counted’.
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.
Carbon offsets are not working, according to a study by the European Commission. This measure allows polluters to pay others to reduce their emissions, so they can continue to pollute. The research found that 85% of the offset projects used by the EU under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) failed to reduce emissions.