Biofuels are top of the EU agenda these days. And that’s not just because we’re headed for the final trilogue discussions on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) but also because of biofuels interfering with Europe’s trade relations. Led by Indonesia and Malaysia a group of countries are threatening the EU with Trump style trade wars after the European Parliament voted to disqualify palm oil biodiesel from the EU’s clean fuels regulation after 2020. At the same time the EU is trying to negotiate a series of trade deals with a number of these countries.
When we talk about transport’s climate problem, we usually talk about cars, trucks, planes and ships as the big issues. But, of course, they’re only part of the story. The heart of the problem is not the vehicles or the mobility they provide, but the pollution they cause by burning oil.
Europe’s chief negotiator on the UK’s exit from the EU has insisted that Britain must agree to abide by EU environmental rules if it wants access to the internal market. Speaking at a special debate organised by the Group of 10 leading Brussels-based environmental groups (G10) earlier this month, Michel Barnier said the UK must agree to a ‘non-regression clause’ being included in its post-Brexit trade agreement with the 27-member bloc.
The pressure of civil society forced the European Commission to rethink its approach on investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS), resulting in the reformed investment court system (ICS), and the current multilateral investment court (MIC). The purported added value of the MIC is to render investment protection more transparent and accountable, and put an end to the controversial ISDS. This briefing outlines T&E's position on MIC.
Countries will meet at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law this week, in the UN’s famous New York City building, to discuss modernising the mechanism that enables foreign firms to sue governments for what they perceive as unfair policy measures that can harm future profits. This is commonly known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. The European Commission’s proposal to reform this archaic system will form the core of the discussions.
In 2018 the EU will develop a budget for the 2021-2027 period. The current budget earmarks €100 billion for investment in transport infrastructure, as well as research and innovation. Nevertheless, emissions continue to rise from the sector and represent 27% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Spending should prioritise addressing this worrying trend, investing in infrastructure that helps reduce such emissions. Furthermore, the most polluting means of transport could become new own resources for the EU budget, which would help to reduce emissions and fill the EU budget gap that will be left after the UK exits the EU. Read more in our responses to the European Commission’s open consultations on the EU budget.
The following document is T&E's response to the European Ombudsman's public consultation on transparency of legislative work within Council preparatory bodies (01/2/2017). It consists of the nine questions below.
As the Commission unveiled their 2nd Mobility Package and proposal to cut new car and van CO2 emissions, the latest data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) reconfirms that transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem. Worse, transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU have risen for the third year running.
EU governments should level the playing field between companies in countries taking action on climate change and those in countries that are not by levying special import fees, according to a new report on how trade policy can support climate action. A carbon border tax adjustment (CBTA) would be based on the price of carbon – in existing carbon markets such as the EU emissions trading system – and should be levied on goods and services from countries which do not put an equivalent price on carbon, the report by the Trade Justice Movement and Transport & Environment (T&E) says.
Since the 1990s, international climate agreements have largely taken a country-by-country approach to mitigating climate change. However, in recent years, the conclusion of numerous bilateral or regional trade and investment agreements has led to an exponential growth in the global flows of goods and capital across borders. This growth has translated into a significant increase in emissions that cannot be bound to a single country. Thus, actions designed to tackle climate change require a new set of tools and strategies. The following joint-report offers a set of complementary options that could be implemented to tackle climate impacts.