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Tar sands: T&E lodges complaint over access to documents

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Transport & Environment and ClientEarth have written a letter to the European Ombudsman complaining over the repeated failure, by the European Commission, to fulfil an access to documents request concerning tar sands, their associated carbon dioxide emissions and how the latter would be dealt with in the revision of Article 7A of the Fuel Quality Directive.

MEPs add weight to land-use concerns

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A group of MEPs has written to leading commissioners, expressing ‘serious concern’ about the issue of indirect land-use change (Iluc) caused by biofuels production. Their letter follows the publication last month of a report commissioned by nine NGOs showing the additional emissions of greenhouse gases likely to be caused by an increase in use of biofuels if EU biofuels policy doesn’t change. It also comes amid signs that the biofuels industry is struggling to attract finance.

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.

Member state biofuel plans will cause higher emissions than fossil fuels

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The use of biofuels in EU transport will emit between 81% and 167% more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and require an area twice the size of Belgium in new land to grow biofuel crops. That is the latest evidence concerning the environmental impact of biofuels, which was published earlier this month. As the findings are based on EU member states’ plans for increasing use of biofuels and the most recent science on indirect land use change, this study carries more weight than previous studies on the impact of biofuels published up to now.

EU classifies tar sands a 'high greenhouse gas' source but makes concession to Canada

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Canada has achieved a partial victory over the EU on the issue of how the environmental impact of transport fuels derived from tar sands should be assessed. The Commission has agreed to delay by a year the greenhouse gas intensity value it gives to tar sands, but it has made clear it views the fuel as a ‘high greenhouse gas intensity’ source.

Biofuel production is causing ‘land grab’ says World Bank

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The World Bank has admitted that the European and American biofuel targets are encouraging a rush for land in Africa and other developing regions that is reducing the amount of land available for growing food. The finding adds to growing concerns about indirect land-use change caused by biofuel production, and comes as the Commission has launched a consultation about such biofuel impacts.

Reuters report asks whether EU officials are changing science to suit EU policy

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Another two independent scientific studies have cast further doubt on the EU’s policy of pushing for biofuels to make up 10% of the transport market by 2020. And in a special report, the Reuters news agency says the general picture that emerges from a series of Commission documents is that EU officials might have ‘deliberately skewed the findings of scientific studies to fit their policies’.

Opinion

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By Chris Bowers
Editor, T&E Bulletin
In June 2004, I wrote an open letter to the FIA, the governing body of Formula 1 motor racing, suggesting it ought to limit the amount of fuel available to drivers in grand prix races.

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