The switch to electric vehicles could save EU member states billions of euros, but only if governments make space for ‘smart charging’ and Europe embraces the potential of recycling. These are the conclusions of a report commissioned by T&E and others, and amount to the latest in a series of calls for Europe to make the most of the e-vehicle revolution or risk losing out to other parts of the world.
Tackling environmental problems is generally thought to involve politicians introducing regulations and imposing measures that encourage or nudge behaviour in desired directions. But, following decades of government inaction on aviation emissions, the public is taking the matter into its own hands.
While carmakers have recalled on average between 70% and 99% of highly-polluting diesel vehicles in Germany, progress has been much, much slower elsewhere in Europe, official data shows. More than three years after the Dieselgate emissions scandal broke, only 45% of cars with the notorious VW diesel engine have been recalled in Poland, Eastern Europe’s biggest market. And these are only the cheapest, least effective form of fixes – software updates.
The 1.2 million people living in Brussels have very little idea what’s in the air they breath every day. Let’s take PM2.5 for example. Monitoring stations watching this pollutant can be counted on the fingers of one hand, literally. There are only five of them. For a city that spreads over 160 km2, it’s too few.
A European Citizens’ Initiative has been launched that calls for European governments to end aviation’s fuel tax exemption. The petition followed the leak of a report for the European Commission showing that taxing kerosene sold in Europe would cut aviation emissions by 11% and have no net impact on jobs or the economy as a whole. T&E is encouraging people to sign the petition, which could lead directly to legislation if it attracts one million signatures.
Cruise ships are choking Europe’s port cities with the biggest cruise company, Carnival Corporation, emitting 10 times more sulphur oxides (SOx) than all of Europe’s 260 million cars, new research shows. Royal Caribbean Cruises, the world’s second largest cruise operator, emits four times the SOx of the European car fleet.
Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of shipping should begin with mandatory speed restrictions for all commercial ships. That is the message from more than 100 maritime companies and nine NGOs, which have written to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) calling for it to regulate speed speeds.
Europe’s first greenhouse gas emissions limits for heavy vehicles are set to come into force after MEPs and EU governments completed the legislative process for a new regulation. The regulation will cut CO2 emissions from trucks by 30% by 2030, saving hauliers an estimated €60,000 per truck in the first five years through lower fuel consumption. T&E said the legislation ‘kick-starts road haulage’s shift away from fossil-fuel technology’.
T&E has joined forces with environmental NGOs in Spain to warn that a high-profile exercise in cleaning up shipping risks locking in fossil fuels for decades to come. The port of Barcelona has committed to investing in infrastructure to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to ships, and last month it celebrated the arrival of its first gas-powered cruise ship as a breakthrough for sustainable tourism. However, a T&E member described it as ‘greenwashing’.
A study claiming that electric vehicle produce more carbon emissions than a diesel car has been promptly debunked by academics and experts in Germany, where it was published last month. The Institute for Economic Research (Ifo) was roundly criticised over its findings which were founded on a relatively high weighting of coal generation in Germany’s power mix.