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Ms Vălean (pictured) wavered in her support for ending airlines’ fuel tax exemption. She said it was one of the possibilities, along with market and non-market measures, to help decarbonise the sector which is responsible for an estimated 4.9% of man-made global warming. However, the nominee correctly pointed to new fuels, such as synthetic fuels, as a promising development to make air travel more sustainable.
William Todts, executive director of T&E, said: “Ms Vălean rightly identified that it is absolutely necessary for Europe to act on shipping’s climate impact. She was clear that maritime emissions should join the EU’s carbon market. But the incoming commissioner must also tackle aviation’s carbon pollution head-on by helping to end airlines’ unfair fuel tax exemption.”
Commenting on the air quality problems in our cities and towns, Ms Vălean placed little emphasis on the transition to zero-emission mobility, where the EU and transport departments have a crucial role to play in supporting the charging infrastructure required. Instead she spoke of clean ‘alternative fuels’ which, in policy-speak, covers energy like LPG, fossil gas and biofuels.
William Todts concluded: “European carmakers plan to produce at least four million electric cars here by 2025 and are investing billions into the transition. The transport commissioner should champion policies that will help EU industry win the global race by prioritising electric charging points at home, at work and across the EU’s highways.”