Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: Taxing kerosene on flights could raise £6.7 billion a year for the Treasury; European Commission proposes new Euro 7 standards: inciting criticism from NGOs and trade groups alike; Self-charging trains are set to transform the future of British transport; Fit for 55: Deal on stricter rules for member states’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Taxing kerosene on flights could raise £6.7 billion a year for the Treasury. A new study has revealed that, should the UK government finally impose a duty tax on aircraft fuel, the possible revenues raised could largely accelerate the country’s transition to net-zero aviation. According to the climate NGO Transport and Environment, the UK, unlike the US, India, Japan, and Brazil, does not tax jet fuel taken for domestic flights. Moreover, long-haul flights are excluded from the UK emissions trading scheme, meaning that airlines and passengers do not pay for emissions from these flights. The potential UK tax revenue figures are projected at £0.26 billion for domestic flight taxes, £1.93 billion for flights to the EU, and £1.6 billion for US flight taxes. T&E (Transport and Environment) believe the reinvestments of these figures should be focussed on the development of e-kerosene and the zero-emission aircraft, in the aim of decarbonising the aviation sector. Specifically, UK policy manager Matt Finch says: “early investment is key if the sector has any chance of reaching net-zero… the absolute priority should be sustainable aviation fuels”. – Josie Waddington
European Commission proposes new Euro 7 standards: inciting criticism from NGOs and trade groups alike. Currently, cars and LCVs are responsible for around 15% of EU carbon emissions. To combat this, the European Commission has proposed new measures, dubbed ‘Euro 7’ which include regulating emissions from tyres and brakes, introducing battery durability requirements for EVs, plus encouraging technological development to support electrification and decarbonisation. The proposals, although expected, have been criticised by an array of stakeholders. Climate NGO, Transport & Environment, for example, have claimed that the Commission has “sided with car lobbyists in a move that will greenwash 100 million heavily polluting cars sold in the decade up to 2035”. In particular, T&E pointed to a consortium of experts who advised the Commission, known as CLOVE, who proposed lower limits that would slash toxic NOx pollution by 50% and toxic particles by over 80%. Conversely, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) cautions that the proposed 2025 implementation is unrealistic and that Euro 7 risks being very complex and costly considering the huge number of vehicle models and variants which will need to be developed, engineered tested, and type approved. The CEO of Volvo Group explains to comply with Euro 7, truck makers must move resources from battery and fuel-cell electric vehicles back to the internal combustion engine, severely impacting the transition to zero-emission vehicles, and that “policy makers should focus on measures that accelerate fleet renewal” – Charlotte Goldstone
Self-charging trains are set to transform the future of British transport. New technology will remove harmful emissions from train exhausts and power UK railways with renewable energy after 24 winners of FOAK 2022 receive £400,00 each in UK Government funding that will “revolutionise our railways” , says Transport secretary, Mark Harper. Winners of the First of a Kind 2022 include Echion Technologies, a company developing batteries which will charge from overhead wires; G-Volution which works on fuels cells to make auxiliary power in trains cleaner, and Siemens Mobility who will connect large-scale renewable generation to the East Coast Mainline. In 2020-2021 rail emissions per passenger kilometre in the UK increased by 316% to 146.5g compared with 35.2g in 2019-20. This is around four times larger than the previous year, and the level of CO2e emissions per freight tonne kilometre stood at 26.5g. Whilst freight emissions fell vastly during the covid pandemic, these are expected to rise again in the coming years. The Executive Director for Net Zero at Innovate UK said: “The innovations funded through this competition will help to deliver a greener, lower-emissions railway carrying increasingly higher proportions of the U.K.’s freight”. – Charlotte Goldstone
Fit for 55: Deal on stricter rules for member states’ greenhouse gas emissions. During the UN COP27 Climate Conference, the European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement which would see stricter regulations on GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions for EU member states. New policies focus on less flexibility and more transparency through limitations on transfers, banking and borrowing of emissions. Following the negotiation of a 10% increase of the mandatory GHG reduction target (30% to 40%), all European Union countries have been assigned new targets reflecting the GDP per capita and cost-effectiveness for each nation, with reductions targets ranging from 10-50%. The new deal also strikes a balance between flexibility and undermining the EU Climate Law through tighter limitations on the ‘cap and trade’ and ‘bank and borrow’ systems within the EU ETS (EU Emissions Trading Scheme). The emission transfer allocation will now be limited to 10%, the borrow maximum from the next year’s allocations reduced to 7.5%, and the banking allocation decreased to 25% from 2022 onwards (previously 75%). In order to hold member states accountable to these new commitments, the Commission will now publish national actions in an easy to access form, ensuring the closing of all previous loopholes. The new reduction targets will be enforced from 2023 onwards in line with a linear trajectory set to end in 2030, though the formal approval of both Parliament and Council is necessary to the implementation of any revised regulations. – Josie Waddington