Efforts to tackle air pollution from shipping have been boosted by an agreement that is expected to reduce by 85% the sulphur content of fuel used by ships in EU waters by 2020.
The Commission is postponing a decision on how to assess the climatic impact of non-conventional sources of transport fuel such as tar sands and oil shale. A decision was expected in June, but Brussels has ordered an assessment of the impact of giving high-carbon sources a higher climate rating, which means no final judgement will be made until next year. The postponement came just days after T&E published a study saying reducing greenhouse gas emissions from petrol and diesel production will cost less to administer than the oil industry says.
A new study has recommended Europe should have a single fuel economy and carbon dioxide labelling system for cars. The study by the British consultancy AEA looked at the labelling systems in operation in eight member states, and found some compare a car with the whole car market while others show only how it compares with others of the same type. It says comparisons against the whole of the available car fleet are likely to be more useful in the absence of further research. Another report in 2010 also recommended a harmonised approach to labelling.
Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E director
People who follow our work – and Europe’s environmental policy – a little bit will have noticed that two fuels-related draft laws keep dragging on without any apparent progress. The first one is what to do about indirect land use change effects of biofuels (key words: Iluc, biodiesel). The second is whether or not to give petrol and diesel from unconventional fossil sources a higher lifecycle greenhouse gas default value (key words: fuel quality directive, tar sands).
Efforts to remove one of the main causes of air pollution and acid rain from shipping have been boosted by a vote in the European Parliament. MEPs on the environment committee have approved draft rules to reduce the sulphur content of marine fuels. The changes now have to be confirmed by environment ministers and by the full Parliament.