The first of November is the new European Commission’s first day. Thousands of newspaper pages have been filled across Europe with the shenanigans and politics surrounding the nomination process. This blog will not seek to add an additional one.
This blogpost was first posted on TTIP2014.eu.
100,000 submissions  to a public consultation is a lot on any subject, and particularly when the subject is the finer points of a proposed international trade deal. But having been extended for a week, the signs are that the European Commission’s public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has attracted a number of responses that could be in this region. It closed on Sunday, July 13th.
This blogpost was first published by the Parliament Magazine.
The EU took some small but welcome steps towards reforming its biofuels policy on 13 June when the council of energy ministers agreed a position. Clearly the content of this agreement - food-based biofuels capped at seven per cent of petrol and diesel sold, and weak national targets for advanced biofuels - is far from satisfactory as it is still fails to differentiate among the various types of biofuels and reward those with better environmental performance.
This blogpost was first published by EurActiv on 19 June 2014.
Recent protests greeted the first major shipment of high-carbon Canadian tar sands oil to enter Europe, with 600,000 barrels arriving at a Bilbao refinery. On almost exactly the same day, EU media reported that the European Commission is planning to weaken the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), a law to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of Europe's transport fuels by 6% by 2020, in order to appease oil industry, Canadian and US government lobbying. As is often the case, there is some truth to the reports on the FQD - but from the version of the draft proposal that T&E has seen, we can say that there are still some useful elements in this weakened text.
This article was first published in Parliament Magazine on 13 June 2014
The Ukraine crisis highlights the urgent need to rethink Europe’s energy use and dependence. Two thirds of EU oil use is in transport, and transport itself is still almost 100 per cent dependent on oil. A third of the EU’s oil comes from Russia, entailing a massive capital transfer of around €100bn a year.
This blogpost was first published by the European Voice on 21 May 2014.
Rarely have trade negotiations attracted as much attention and criticism as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has over the last year. There has been no spontaneous ‘boom’ in anti-trade sentiments. Rather, this criticism is due to the overreach being attempted here. With TTIP, the EU is trying something new that goes beyond the classic lowering of tariffs – which incidentally are already low in transatlantic trade.
This comment by William Todts was first published by GreenFleet Europe.
European lorries, and in particular the cabins, look like oversized bricks with flat noses and blunt shapes. That wasn’t always the case. Not so long ago long-nose lorries thundered over European highways just like they do now in the US. However, it seems Brussels is now plotting the comeback of the more aerodynamic cabin.
This comment by Transport & Environment president João Vieira was first published as a foreword to T&E's 2013 Annual Report.
2013 will – again – not go down in the history books as the year that Europe really got serious about tackling transport’s many environmental issues. On the headline level we actually see quite the contrary: the political focus is more on saving existing jobs than creating new ones, and the ‘climate and energy’ discussion is skewed more towards energy than climate than ever before. Geopolitically, Europe is moving towards North America and wants to conclude far-reaching free trade agreements with Canada and the US. There may be many good reasons for this, but we can only hope that a desire to emulate the North American model – relying on cheap and dirty fossil energy – is not one of them.
This article was first published as a EurActiv opinion editorial.
“You can have all the oil and gas in the world, but it's not much good if you can't get it to market [ …] Europe is the biggest single market in the world right now." Joe Oliver – Canadian energy minister 2011-2014
It’s March 2014, and we still don’t have a functioning Fuel Quality Directive - the only European law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuel. After 1181 days of delay, the lack of so-called ‘implementing rules’ matters a lot. These rules will determine whether Europe’s oil companies will only blend in biofuels to reduce their emissions, or also look for the ‘cleanest’ possible fossil fuels - which are most certainly not tar sands, to name one example.
This comment by Jos Dings was first published by Business Green.
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?
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