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EU finally agrees to stop bad biofuels after 2020

The European Parliament has given its final approval to a law capping the use of land-based biofuels in transport. The reform, which aims to be a check on the growing consumption of biofuels that increase carbon emissions compared to conventional diesel and petrol due to ILUC emissions, has been passed after seven years of public debate and tense negotiations between the European Commission, MEPs and EU member states.

Biomass ‘zero’ rating sees up to 150m tonnes CO2 escape ETS

Between 90 and 150 million tonnes of CO2 resulting from burning biomass with no climate safeguards are labelled carbon neutral in Europe, according to a new study. This costs EU governments €630m-€1 billion a year in foregone revenue from the emissions trading system (ETS) because such emissions do not require carbon permits and thus industry does not have to surrender allowances for burning biomass.

German environment agency suggests list to allay concerns about TTIP

Germany’s environment agency UBA has expressed serious concern that the EU’s position on the emerging Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal could weaken environmental protection standards in Europe. The UBA is also suggesting that any TTIP agreement should include a list of areas where cooperation on environmental standards would benefit both America and Europe.

Electro-mobility and alternative fuels central to ‘energy union’ agenda

Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.

MEPs confirm support for 6% biofuels cap

Members of the European Parliament's environment committee have backed a 6% limit on land-based biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020. Critics say many of these so-called first-generation biofuels drive up global food prices and emit as much carbon as conventional fossil fuel and even more in some cases.

Modest climate and energy targets won’t cut it

EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.