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'Fundamental rethink’ needed on EU biofuels policy

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to food has called for an urgent rethink in EU biofuels policy before too much investment is made on the back of unsustainable biofuels targets. His comments come as more evidence emerges that biofuels may be a poor means of tackling climate change.

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.

EU must avoid getting ‘locked in’ to high carbon oil

Opinion
by Nusa Urbancic – T&E Policy Officer

One of the least-noted parts of the EU’s ‘climate and energy package’, agreed three years ago, was the Fuel Quality Directive. It should have been better noted because it went straight to the root of one of transport’s biggest problems, namely oil’s increasingly dirty future. It did so by setting a target for reducing lifecycle carbon emissions of petrol and diesel. As such it is a simple, technology-neutral way of encouraging producers of fuel to work towards cleaner products and better extraction methods.

Study shows high emissions from growing biodiesel from palm oil

Biofuels produced from palm oil grown in tropical peatlands are a significant source of greenhouse gases. This is the finding of a new study done for the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) which, if taken on board by the EU, would disqualify biofuels from palm oil sources from being counted towards the EU’s renewable fuels target.

Commission recognises climate impact of unconventional oil in fuel quality directive

Sketch of some documents (default image for news

Petrol and diesel made from tar sands, coal, gas and oil shale will be assigned a different carbon footprint than fuels from conventional oil, if a proposal from the Commission is supported by EU member states. After years of lobbying by Canada and some sections of the oil industry, the Commission has stuck to its original plan to assign different values to fuels dependent on their source. The values are needed as part of EU efforts to reduce the climate impact of fuel production by 6% by 2020.

EU biofuels policy ‘not supported by science’

Sketch of some documents (default image for news

More than 150 scientists and economists have written to the Commission calling for it to recognise that biofuels production can have indirect impacts on land-use, and for the resulting emissions to be taken into account in assessing which biofuels help in the fight against global warming. The letter comes as one branch of the biofuels industry has broken away from the rest by saying it would support indirect land-use change (Iluc) being a factor in assessing which biofuels will count towards the EU’s renewable energy target and hence qualify for support.

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