05 April 2007

Subsidising planetary destruction: part 94

A recent report released by the European Environmental Agency has found that greenhouse emissions from transport vehicles remain a key obstacle to the European Union (EU) reaching its Kyoto climate change targets.  While greenhouse gas emissions fell in most sectors in the EU15 between 1990 and 2004, they increased by 26% in the transport sector. Road transport is by far the biggest polluter, emitting 93% of the greenhouse gases put out by the transport sector, which accounts for 22% of total EU15 emissions.

The report estimates that around 270-290 million Euros  in known annual subsidies are being handed down to the transport sector in EEA countries, (which include the 27 EU Members and Turkey, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The effect of these subsidies is to reduce the costs of transport to users.

Apart from helping destroy the environment, such subsidies also represent a transfer from taxpayers to wealthier citizens, who use the transport infrastructure disproportionately more than the poor, as they have better access to transport and more time in which to use it. Meanwhile:

There is little prospect of slowing the growth in China's oil consumption, because the government is committed to a car-led policy of development. The World Bank's Mr Dollar has recently described this as “a very questionable development choice”—though it had earlier been conceived with the World Bank's backing. (My emphasis.) Source (subscription)

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