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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

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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’

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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.

EU is miscalculating climate benefits of biofuels, says EEA

A new report says the EU is seriously miscalculating the contribution biofuels can make to tackling global warming. It calls on the EU to review its bioenergy laws, but the recommendation comes as the EU looks set to postpone by seven years the introduction of new rules aimed at accounting for the full climate impacts of biofuels.

Environmental NGOs urge Barroso to tackle biofuel concerns

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The European Commission must give due consideration to the latest scientific results on indirect land use change (ILUC) when assessing biofuels' sustainability and come up with a long overdue legislative proposal that gives each feedstock a specific ILUC factor that reflects their real CO2 emissions. This is the message of a letter from BirdLife International, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau, Transport and Environment, Greenpeace and Wetlands International to the European Commission president.

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