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World still not taking climate change seriously, say three reports

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are hitting new highs, and global action to tackle such concentrations is falling well short of what is needed to prevent dangerous climate change, according to two new reports. A third report says tackling climate change is a key to ending poverty. T&E says the findings should strengthen the Commission and MEPs when they face pressure to weaken EU legislation such as the fuel quality directive and emissions trading for aviation.

Commission’s proposal on biofuels: the story of a missed opportunity

With this new blog post, T&E programme manager for clean fuels Nusa Urbancic unveils the process which has led to the weakening of a draft proposal that deals with biofuels sustainability, turning it into a missed opportunity. Urbancic also hints at the way in which the Parliament and Council can improve the proposal in the months to come.

Finally the recognition – but still lots of difficult questions

Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E directorAfter almost two years of delay, it now seems that the European Commission is indeed going to do something about indirect land-use change caused by growing crops for biofuels. And a delay it has been. Faithful readers of the Bulletin must have noted our regular coverage of the true avalanche of reports, studies and positions by generally very cautious bodies like the OECD and the FAO, pointing out the big risks and dangers of biofuels if handled without proper care.

Leaked Commission proposal recognises flaws in biofuels targets

The Commission seems ready to accept that setting a general target for the use of biofuels in transport is not going to help reduce greenhouse gases. Its long-awaited proposal on indirect land-use change caused by growing biofuel crops was leaked earlier this month. Although still subject to change, the draft says the Commission believes biofuels should only be subsidised after 2020 ‘if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings … and are not produced from crops used for food and feed’.

Commission efforts towards more sustainable biofuels, a step in the right direction

T&E welcomes the news that the European Commission is taking a firststep towards resolving the negative impacts of biofuels from foodcrops, but urges commissioners to go further by addressing theseimpacts via all relevant legislation.

Industry lobbying continues to hold Commission back

The current Commission is on track to have one of the worst-ever environmental records of any EU administration. That is the view of the group of 10 Brussels-based environmental NGOs (‘Green 10’), whose mid-term assessment of José Manuel Barroso’s second Commission says it would not win any medals and is acting to protect the environment even less than his first Commission (2005-09).

Linking minimum tax rates with energy and CO2 still proving difficult

The idea of making fuel tax in Europe relate to a fuel’s energy and carbon dioxide content is still struggling to get into the EU Energy Tax Directive. Last month EU finance ministers moved closer to approving a new structure for minimum tax rates for fuels, but most member states opposed any system that would force them to make diesel more expensive than petrol.

The real story behind the latest EEA emissions figures (part 2)

This blog is part 2 of an analysis of 20 years of CO2 emission trends in transport (1990-2010) as recently published by the European Environment Agency. The first blog focused on overall trends, and on aviation and shipping. In this post Jos Dings, T&E director, looks into individual countries’ performance, in particular when set next to their economic performance, and challenges the common belief that, after all, transport emissions are an almost inevitable by-product of economic growth.

Lagarde calls for a ‘green economy’, and supports carbon charges for transport

The head of the International Monetary Fund has said the economic growth needed to get the world’s economies back to health must be ‘on a different track than before the crisis’. Christine Lagarde’s comments came just after a number of ex-finance ministers wrote to today’s European finance ministers, asking them to shift the burden from income tax and VAT on to carbon and energy taxes.

The real story behind the latest EEA emissions figures (part 1)

A closer look at Europe's latest annual emissions figures reveals some reasons for concern.  In the first of a two-part blog, T&E's Director Jos Dings explains the reality behind the EEA's numbers.

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