EU may link road tolls to CO2 emissions of vehicles

Currently, the EU has a legal framework governing charging for trucks, but road tolls for private vehicles are left to national governments. (Reuters)
Updated 21 April 2017

EU may link road tolls to CO2 emissions of vehicles

BRUSSELS: The European Commission (EC) is to propose making cars, trucks, buses and vans pay road toll charges according to the amount of CO2 they emit, as it seeks to cut road transport’s carbon footprint, two EU officials said.

The proposal, which has not yet been finalized, will for the first time set some EU-wide principles for road tolls for cars, including one that motorists must pay according to the distance traveled, and include buses and coaches, the officials said.
The proposal will keep the average level of tolls collected roughly constant, meaning more polluting vehicles will pay more while cleaner ones will pay less, one of the sources said.
Heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) account for a small fraction of vehicles on the road but are responsible for a third of road transport’s CO2 emissions in the EU.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) — which includes Volvo, CNH Industrial’s IVECO and Daimler — said it supported differentiating road charging according to CO2 emissions as long as it promoted low emissions in real conditions of use and provided fair competition between types of vehicles.
“Any road charges that do not consider the real emissions or the complete vehicle combination (including tires, weight and aerodynamics) would sub-optimize the fleet,” ACEA said.
Differentiating the amount trucks have to pay according to their CO2 emissions should make road haulers more efficient as it increases the cost of driving per kilometer and could encourage the renewal of fleets.
Currently, the EU has a legal framework governing charging for trucks, but road tolls for private vehicles are left to national governments.
The proposal will not force countries to introduce road charging schemes for cars or trucks, but will lay down rules any such scheme would have to respect were it to be introduced, the sources said.
Road tolls often prove sensitive political issues and the EU’s move to set rules on car charging and phase out time-based charging systems is likely to face opposition from both motorists and governments.
Germany, which for years was embroiled in a tussle with the EU over its proposed road toll which Brussels said discriminated against foreign drivers, only recently introduced changes to assuage the EU’s concerns.
Time-based charging systems — where motorists buy a pass lasting a certain amount of time — known as vignettes — will need to be phased out, the sources said, meaning that road tolls such as those in Germany will need to be amended if the proposal becomes law.
Haulers oppose the phasing out of vignettes as they are cheaper to operate and the introduction of distance-based charging would require them to invest in more expensive onboard devices.
While steering clear of requiring governments to earmark the money earned from road charging for road infrastructure, the EC plans to introduce disclosure requirements on where the revenues will go.
The proposals are expected to be published on May 31, after which they will need the approval of the European Parliament (EP) and of member states.

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 37 min 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.