Heatwave hassle, Dutch courage & lunar labs

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Many of Europe’s airports pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2050 in what was initially an eyebrow-raising announcement. But the target does not include the main climate offenders: aircraft.

At a meeting of national environment ministers, there was feedback on new emissions reporting for maritime vessels, the Dutch delegation gave a briefing on a recent carbon tax summit and the Bulgarians came out with some ideas on e-mobility.

EU negotiators struck a provisional deal with the South American trade bloc, Mercosur. It still needs to run the gauntlet of MEP and national approval, but could slash tariffs on cars, currently 35%, and car parts. Details here.

Spaniards protested en masse in Madrid after the capital’s new mayor scrapped the city’s low emission zone. Polluting cars were banned in an attempt to bring Madrid in line with EU air quality rules.

Paris seems to be going down a different route though: limits on older diesel cars will remain in place after temperatures soared in France.

Germany was forced to impose speed limits on parts of its motorway network after the heatwave prompted concerns that the road surface could suffer. 

Angela Merkel said that expanding the EU’s emissions trading scheme to include agriculture, transport and buildings would not work. The chancellor added that it will be up to “coalitions of the willing” to get it done.

According to German media, a high-ranking Audi engineer was writing weird poetry about emissions-test-fooling ‘defeat devices’ a whole 12 years before the Dieselgate scandal broke.

European motorists could be paying more than €500 extra for their fuel compared to manufacturer estimates, an EU-funded project has revealed.

The Netherlands debuted its climate plan for the next decade: the goal is for every new car sold in 2030 to be emission-free and to stimulate the secondhand market for electric cars. The government wants to make charging a vehicle as easy as charging a phone.

Dutch shipping is also set for a refurb: measures include a sustainability label for inland vessels, ambitious emission-slashing targets and a pledge to launch a completely green ship by 2030.

State-owned railway company NS said it would pay out millions of euros to the survivors of Holocaust victims, in what has been called a “confession of guilt”. NS transported more than 100,000 Jews to concentration camps across Europe.

A train derailed in Slovenia, spilling an estimated 10,000 litres of jet fuel. Firefighters worked for hours to pump the kerosene out of nearby cisterns.

Italian authorities finally demolished the remaining part of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge, which partially collapsed last August, killing 43 people. 

The European Commission’s antitrust division was keeping busy: first it ordered the Finnish government to recoup more than €50m in illegal state aid from a bus company, then launched an inquest into Spain’s proposed support for a Peugeot car plant.

NASA scientists will crack open moon rocks that have been sealed in a lab since they were brought back by the Apollo missions. Geologists hope that 21st-century tools could reveal new discoveries.

Finland took over the rotating presidency of the EU. Ministers, Commissioners and journalists will have to travel back and forth to Helsinki but the government has decided to offset the inevitable aviation emissions.

One of the new Brexit Party MEPs complained about the long train journey to “inaccessible” Strasbourg, prompting immediate online ridicule. A lesson for us all: check the commute time before applying for a job.

What else I’m reading

Next stops

MEPs meeting in Strasbourg 2-4 July will start to divvy up jobs and tasks. The transport committee looks set to have Green Karima Delli as chair again but stay tuned for the news

EU leaders once again try to allocate the top institutional positions, in what will inevitably have an impact on all policy areas. Follow the live blog here

Europe’s world-leading rocket launcher, Ariane V, blasts another satellite into orbit on 6 July. Launch scheduled for 2am with a UAE reconnaissance satellite on board

The public consultation window for the TEN-T review closes on 17 July

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