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Classifying tar sands as ultra-high carbon fuel would bring massive CO2 savings

New research has suggested that the Commission is not only right to classify oil from tar sands as much more carbon-intensive than conventional fuels, but that doing so could save emissions of up to 19 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the roads. The study, commissioned by T&E, undermines claims by the oil industry that the proposal to implement the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) will only lead to global ‘reshuffling’ of different crudes but not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Is China dictating Europe’s climate policy?

The EU’s decision to ‘stop the clock’ on including emissions from intercontinental flights in its Emissions Trading Scheme appears to have been influenced by Chinese threats to cancel orders for new planes from Airbus. A letter from the president of the French aircraft maker to China’s leading aviation official – seen by Reuters – says Airbus played an influential role in persuading the EU to give the world’s governments another year to reach agreement on how to tackle carbon emissions from air transport. T&E says European governments have effectively given China ‘a veto over European policy’.

The clock has stopped: where is ICAO now?

Following the European Parliament’s vote approving the Commission’s proposal to “Stop the Clock”, Conservative MEP Peter Liese, aviation EU ETS and “Stop the Clock” Rapporteur, hosted a public briefing for MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday 24th April to review progress of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) High Level Group on Climate Change (HGCC) formation, of which had prompted Europe’s stop the clock decision. The conference was attended by Jos Delbeke, Director–General DG Clima, Prof David Lee of Manchester University, IATA’s Paul Steele and Green MEP Satu Hassi. The derogation became European law on 25 April. Here’s our report of what was said there.

The clock has stopped but time is running out for ICAO

The clock may have been stopped for a year, but time is still passing. ‘Stopping the clock’ was a big gesture from the EU. With the world saying it was the EU’s decision to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that was preventing global action to tackle aircraft’s contribution to climate change, the EU said ‘OK, we’ll suspend our action for a year to create the chance for a global agreement.’ Yet so far, little progress has been made and the blame heaped on the EU’s ETS looks more and more like the empty excuse we always thought it was.

Airlines charging passengers for ‘costs’ they don’t have to pay

Airlines are making  so-called ‘windfall profits’ of up to €1.3bn by charging passengers for permits to pollute which they are no longer obliged to hand over to European countries. That is the main conclusion of a study by the Dutch consultancy CE Delft carried out for T&E. T&E, in a statement, called for airlines not to retain these windfall profits - which would, they say, be a betrayal of passengers’ contributions to fight climate change. Instead, the campaign group called for any such profits to fund developing countries’ efforts to deal with the effects of climate change.

The role of the Commission in advancing the road pricing agenda cannot be understimated

"The role of the Commission in advancing the road pricing agenda cannot be underestimated", T&E Director Jos Dings stated at the Conference on fair and efficient road pricing organised by the European Commission on 5 Dec:

Road pricing is progressing because the list of its advantages is impressive. No wonder ever more countries in Europe are choosing for road user charging, and we are having a conference about its future.

‘Peak oil’ is dead – but the need for urgency is greater than ever

Opinion By Jos Dings - T&E DirectorThe most recent World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency caught more headlines than usual, the main reason being its finding that North America is to become self-sufficient in energy in 20 years due to an expected increase in production of unconventional oil and gas, as well as energy conservation – mainly more efficient cars. This has some serious consequences, also for Europe, and it heightens the responsibility of the world’s politicians to take some meaningful action on climate change, and quickly.

Cheaper car travel not helping environment, says EEA

The economic downturn of the last three years has contributed to some improvements in the impact of Europe’s transport on the environment, but while car transport has remained steady, train travel has decreased, largely because the cost is rising more quickly than the cost of driving.

Linking minimum tax rates with energy and CO2 still proving difficult

The idea of making fuel tax in Europe relate to a fuel’s energy and carbon dioxide content is still struggling to get into the EU Energy Tax Directive. Last month EU finance ministers moved closer to approving a new structure for minimum tax rates for fuels, but most member states opposed any system that would force them to make diesel more expensive than petrol.

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