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Nobel laureates demand Commission action on tar sands

Twenty-one Nobel prize winners have urged the EU to immediately implement the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) which would label tar sands as dirtier than other fuels. ‘The extraction of unconventional fuels – such as oil sands and oil shale – is having a particularly devastating impact on climate change,’ wrote the laureates in a letter to European commissioners and environment ministers earlier this month.

Classifying tar sands as ultra-high carbon fuel would bring massive CO2 savings

New research has suggested that the Commission is not only right to classify oil from tar sands as much more carbon-intensive than conventional fuels, but that doing so could save emissions of up to 19 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the roads. The study, commissioned by T&E, undermines claims by the oil industry that the proposal to implement the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) will only lead to global ‘reshuffling’ of different crudes but not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. 

‘Peak oil’ is dead – but the need for urgency is greater than ever

Opinion By Jos Dings - T&E DirectorThe most recent World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency caught more headlines than usual, the main reason being its finding that North America is to become self-sufficient in energy in 20 years due to an expected increase in production of unconventional oil and gas, as well as energy conservation – mainly more efficient cars. This has some serious consequences, also for Europe, and it heightens the responsibility of the world’s politicians to take some meaningful action on climate change, and quickly.

Energy tax reform stuck in stupidity

Opinion
by Magnus Nilsson, T&E Senior Campaigner

Raising taxes on fossil fuels is pretty much the only climate policy tool that in all circumstances delivers real emission reductions. Telling people that the cost of petrol and diesel will have to rise may be a difficult message for politicians to put across, but if this method is rejected or not possible, climate policy will simply become unnecessarily costly.

Fuel taxes down 10 cents in 10 years

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350 000 jobs ‘lost’ and chance to cut imports and emissions missedAverage fuel tax in Europe has fallen in real terms by €0.10 per litre since 1999, which has cost 350 000 jobs. These are the findings of a new study by T&E, which coincides with publication of the Commission’s proposals to revise the EU Energy Tax Directive. The proposed revision seeks to narrow the gap between Europe’s differing rates of diesel tax but leaves untouched the current ban on taxing aviation and shipping fuels.

A step in the right direction – but only on diesel tax

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Opinion - By Jos Dings
T&E DirectorAfter more than two years of dithering, the Commission has finally published its proposals for a revised energy tax directive. The message is mixed. There is a lot of progress in this directive, mainly to do with diesel taxes, but the big criticism is inconsistency. The Commission has made good progress in one area, but has totally failed to see that this can help other areas too.

Sowing the seeds of smarter transport policy

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Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E Director
Did we miss something? Last year, the European Commission didn’t propose a single new legislative measure to clean up transport. To be fair, it has been spending most of its time worrying about the future of the Eurozone. As a result, for T&E this was the sort of year where seeds for smarter transport policy were sown. We’re optimistic that next year could bring a decent crop of positive changes.

Oil price 'good'

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The rising price of oil is good news, according to the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Speaking at the OECD's annual meeting, Angel Gurria said it would be 'disastrous' if the world’s richest nations cut fuel taxes or subsidised prices, as rising prices are a clear signal to consumers and companies to cut their fuel consumption.