Whilst the rest of the economy has leapt forward to embrace digitalisation, transport has remained largely analogue. The internal combustion engine, a workhorse from the 19th century, stills powers virtually all vehicles using oil that chokes our cities and heats the planet.
EU governments must step back from irreparably weakening Europe’s biggest climate law, six of Europe’s leading environmental NGOs have said, after talks between member states and the European Parliament ended in deadlock this week. The proposed Effort Sharing Regulation sets binding national emission reduction targets for the 2021-2030 period, but governments are insistent on loopholes that would actually result in hundreds of millions of tonnes in additional CO2 emissions.
Reacting to the own-initiative report by MEP Bas Eickhout on the Low Emission Mobility adopted today in plenary, Yoann Le Petit, clean vehicles officer at T&E, said: “The Parliament have shown they are serious about cleaning up Europe’s transport sector. MEPs have confirmed they want to see ambitious 2025 CO2 targets as well as a separate sales target for zero emission vehicles. In the forthcoming debates on the Second Mobility Package, Parliament has signaled it sees decarbonisation as a key pillar of the mobility revolution and complementary to a competitive industry that will secure jobs and investments in Europe."
Europe’s only government that does not tax diesel fuel more favourably than petrol has gone a step further by increasing tax on diesel engine cars while leaving it unaltered for petrol cars. In his annual budget speech, the British chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) said new diesels that failed to pass the strictest emissions tests would pay more tax each year. T&E said the announcement was more important for its symbolism than its financial impact.
T&E’s German member DUH has won a historic victory over Volkswagen (VW) in the German courts. The judgement grants DUH (German Environmental Assistance) the right to criticise VW’s emissions data and make related statements after the carmaker had tried to silence DUH. The court said the freedom to express an opinion takes precedence over the economic interests of a company.
Last week I was in Munich for the so-called LKW-Gipfel; a summit of Europe’s truck industry executives. The Gipfel had an impressive line up. But before the CEOs of MAN, IVECO, Volvo and Scania delivered their keynotes, Matthias Wissmann, the German automotive industry’s (VDA) chief lobbyist, was given the stage.
A long-awaited proposal to decarbonise EU cars and vans was met with disappointment last month – except among European carmakers who could barely conceal their satisfaction at an early Christmas present. The European Commission was roundly criticised for presenting a zero-emissions vehicle target with no penalty for non-compliance and an unambitious set of CO2 reduction targets.
Efforts to position electrofuels as the great hope to decarbonise road transport received a blow with findings that the synthetic fuel is neither an efficient or a cost-effective solution for cars and trucks.
A report by two respected climate scientists says the EU’s plans for natural gas as an energy source are incompatible with its commitment to the 2015 Paris climate accord. The report’s authors say Europe has just nine years left to burn fossil fuels at the current rate if global temperatures are to stay below a 2°C increase.
Reacting to FuelsEurope's study on EURO 6 diesel cars performance, Greg Archer, clean vehicles director of Transport & Environment, said: "The oil industry’s crystal ball assumes that emissions from new cars on the road will be as low as during tests – but history suggests this is wishful thinking. The reality is that diesel emissions are so complex to control they will always be higher on the road so the study underestimates the likely future contribution of diesel vehicles. Despite this, the analysis still shows that the toxic air will still be poisoning some urban residents in 2030! Replacing dirty diesels and ultimately all vehicles with engines with zero emission alternatives, or banning them from city centres, is the only way to ensure it will be safe to breath."