In a report titled “Beyond Transport Policy,” the European Environment Agency (EEA) bemoans the fact that European transport sector CO2 emissions increased by 26% during 1990-2006. The report is called “Beyond Transport Policy” because–hold on to your hat–the “drivers” of transport demand growth are “external” to the transport sector itself. For example, people don’t fly for the sheer thrill of flying, but in order to vacation or conduct business in an increasingly global economy.
Consequently, traditional transport policies such as fuel economy regulations, motor fuel taxes, and infrastructure upgrades have had little impact on transport demand and the associated emissions.
This implies that in order to achieve what the EEA calls a “sustainable transport system,” politicians and bureaucrats must control those pesky “external drivers”–basically the totality of things that constitute work and play in the modern world.
But, as I discuss here, the EEA’s proposed solutions are not “beyond transport policy,” but are the same old, same old: new taxes on fuels, vehicles, passengers, and imports. The EEA is stuck in a mental rut; it has taxes on the brain.