Today’s long overdue announcement of a public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement in the EU-US free trade negotiations (dubbed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP) is welcomed but does not change the principle that arbitration should never judge the validity of laws, environmental groups European Environmental Bureau and Transport & Environment have said.
The EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht has ordered a public consultation on a legal clause in the emerging EU-US trade agreement that campaigners say could undermine environmental and consumer protection. The legal provision, known as ‘investor-state dispute settlement’, would give companies the right to take legal action against governments if they feel their investment potential or profits are being hindered by regulatory or policy changes at national level. What’s more, such disputes would be judged by special panels made up of people acceptable to business interests, and bypass national laws.
It’s a question I get asked a lot: so are you having any success in greening transport in Europe? I presume not. There are still an awful lot of cars around, aren’t there?
Europe has a significant untapped potential for converting wastes from farming, forestry, industry and households to advanced low-carbon biofuels, but only if it sets a strong sustainability framework and ambitious decarbonisation targets for transport fuels in 2030, finds a new report entitled “Wasted: Europe’s Untapped Resource”.
This letter was first published by the Financial Times on February 19 2014.Sir, it is lazy of the Financial Times to brand critics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as “antitrade campaigners” (“No time to waste on transatlantic trade”, editorial, February 17). Two examples should suffice to illustrate that the controversy around TTIP is not so much about trade as about legitimacy and democracy.
They say there are two options to push out bad news – publish it on a Friday, or bury it in a much bigger announcement. On transport fuels, the European Commission has chosen the latter strategy.
The EEB and T&E have given a cautious welcome today to the formation by the European Commission of a new advisory group on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The formation of the group represents the very first step in what is still a long process of improving the transparency and accountability of the negotiations.
At the end of the 2013 ‘Year of Air’, environmental organisations took a look back at what the European Commission has achieved in terms of air quality and, more importantly, looked ahead to the next steps for 2014 and beyond. With this assessment, Transport & Environment, AirClim, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau, and the Health and Environment Alliance examine where we stand compared to the start of the year and ask whether there are tangible signs of EU action.
NGOs wrote to the incoming Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU stressing the urgency of reaching an ambitious agreement on the issue of biofuels’ adverse impacts on land use, climate change and hunger. Transport & Environment, BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Brot für die Welt, and Oxfam call for a meaningful level of cap for first-generation biofuels, correct carbon accounting that includes indirect land-use change (ILUC), and appropriate support for advanced biofuels.
European energy ministers today rejected by a blocking minority a political deal to amend the EU biofuels policy. The rejected agreement, struck by the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU, would have limited the use of food-based biofuels that are eligible to count towards carbon reduction targets  to 7% of transport fuel – a cap close to the original 2020 target. The deal would have also mandated just the reporting of biofuel emissions from indirect land-use change (ILUC)  with a wide range of values for ILUC factors.