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Report for Commission confirms carbon-intensity of tar sands

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Two new reports have put a figure on how much more carbon-intensive fuels derived from tar sands are, compared with conventionally produced fuels. These reports were prepared for the Commission, which has up to now used the absence of scientific data as a reason for not recognising the excessive contribution these unconventional fuels make to climate change.

Commission delays action that will determine best biofuels

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Despite a massive bank of evidence showing that the EU’s biofuels policy could cause more greenhouse gases than it saves, the Commission has decided to delay by at least six months any action on the phenomenon known as indirect land-use change (Iluc). T&E has said this is not only bad for the environment, but creates damaging uncertainty for the biofuels industry.

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.

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