Coal or oil. That was the question facing ‘a young man in a hurry’ who had just been put in charge of the British navy. A century ago coal-powered steamships were the proven technology. On the other hand, there was a new technology: the internal combustion engine (ICE). Proponents of the ICE said it would be faster, healthier for the crew and operated by far fewer people which made it a lot cheaper to run. Of course it wasn’t a 100% proven technology. It was new. Would it always work? And would there be enough oil?
Greg Archer & Julia Poliscanova of Transport & Environment (T&E), first published in EurActiv.
There is a long history of bruising Brussels battles between left & right, or NGO’s & industry, over car emissions rules with millions of tonnes of emissions savings and billions of euros in investment at stake. The co-decision for the Commission's proposal for post 2020 car and van CO2 targets is shaping up to be another epic fight and a flick through MEPs amendments show strong divisions both between and within political groups. Member states are equally divided with Germany sitting on the fence and new, less corporate friendly, Governments in Spain and Italy expected to change the complexion of the Council debate.
“As expected” mumbled Commission president Juncker when an aide passed him a note saying Trump had decided to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium. The American administration had been playing with the Europeans for nearly two months but threats of retaliation, offers of new trade deals (TTIP light), and a grand visit from the French president had done nothing to dissuade US president Donald Trump.
By Jeppe Juul and Nico Muzi on behalf of T&E’s Board and Secretariat
Last Saturday, our Board member and fellow activist Mariano González Tejada passed away. Mariano fell while climbing down a dangerous peak of the Picos de Europa mountains in Asturias, Spain. He was 38 years old.
You are buying a house and want to know the basics. Is the roof ok; can you borrow sugar from the handsome neighbour; is this house going to end up killing you in the most insidious way? The latter isn’t information you will get from even the most honest of estate agents. But it might soon be a question you will ask, thanks to some pioneering research from an Italian T&E member that maps the spread of toxic NO2 fumes, mainly from diesel vehicles.
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.
As delegates fly and equipment is shipped to another climate conference in Bonn, the question of who is responsible for the resulting emissions arises. The conventional wisdom is that they are covered not by the Paris agreement but by the two UN agencies which were established to regulate these sectors – the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Three years ago this may have made sense. Until the Paris agreement was finalised at the end of 2015, the major climate agreement in force was the Kyoto Protocol which tasked developed countries to work through ICAO and IMO to cut emissions.
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.
This blogpost was first published by Borderlex
The EU should not negotiate on its multilateral investment court project until the Court of Justice of the European Union has established the compatibility of the investment court agreed in CETA, the bloc’s trade agreement with Canada, argues Kristina Wittkopp.
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.
This opinion article was first published by EurActiv.
New mobility services like Uber and Lyft offer the potential to get cities moving, improve quality of life and reduce emissions. But this will only happen if new and traditional mobility services can be integrated to make a more attractive offering that finally persuades drivers out of their cars, write Greg Archer and Yoann Le Petit.
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