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What a good resolution to the biofuels reform would look like

This blogpost was first published as a comment by EurActiv.This week, the proposal to reform EU biofuels policy is back on the European Parliament’s agenda for the second reading, starting with a discussion about MEP Nils Torvalds’ recommendation, and a vote in the environment committee on 24 February.

IMO progress on black carbon in Arctic ‘welcome but long overdue’

The decision at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to recommend to its environment committee a definition of black carbon arrived at by scientific consensus, after four years of debate, has been welcomed by environmental NGO Transport & Environment. Lack of agreement at sub-committee level had been holding up technical work to calibrate and test black carbon measurement methods that could be used to evaluate control measures as well as monitoring and engine certification technology.

All aboard? Paris climate deal must address aviation and shipping

The latest round of climate talks concluded in Lima last month with a sense that some of the basics have been agreed to set the foundations of a global agreement in Paris next year. While the final outcome fell short of expectations, all parties seem to have accepted in principal the need to curb their emissions to keep an increase in global temperature below 2C. However, the two international sectors, aviation and shipping - the emissions of which have not been allocated to parties - seem to be the exception.

Biofuels reform back in European Parliament – view new web documentary

As the European Parliament’s Environment Committee Rapporteur today presents his report on the reform of Europe’s biofuels policy, a new web documentary explores how the EU has failed to decarbonise transport through biofuels. The web documentary can be found at www.biofuelsreform.org.

Heed citizens’ calls to drop investor protection from TTIP, say Commission advisors

The findings of the public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the EU-US free trade negotiations, published today, leaves no room for any other conclusion than that ISDS should be excluded from any such trade agreement, two members of the European Commission’s own advisory group have said. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Transport & Environment (T&E) called on the EU to heed the views of the almost 150,000 European citizens who participated, a record in the history of European public consultation.

Lessons learned from an eight-year battle for cleaner fuels

We live in a world where governments struggle to address climate change. Scientific advice on what needs to be done to stop warming our planet is very clear; stop burning fossil fuels. Even the rather conservative International Energy Agency (IEA) agrees that we need to leave more than two-thirds of proven oil reserves in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.

EU governments agree cleaner, safer lorries – but Commission must drive improvements

Representatives of EU governments today accepted a deal with the European Parliament to end brick-shaped lorries, clearing the way for advances in fuel efficiency and safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The agreed law allows lorrymakers to produce new designs but industry lobbyists secured a ban until 2022 even though the new designs are voluntary, not mandatory [1]. The Commission will propose new safety requirements for trucks by amending its vehicle safety regulations by 2016.

European Parliament adopts a weakened fuel quality law after 8 years of fierce lobbying by Canada and Big Oil

The full European Parliament today narrowly approved weak fuel quality rules that fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid. 337 MEPs voted against because they found the rules too weak, more than the 325 who approved them. But it fell short of the qualified majority of 376 needed for rejection. 

Netherlands tops EU ranking of lowest CO₂ emissions from new cars – Germany and Poland the laggards

Green Car Tax rating highlights EU countries with the most and least supportive tax arrangements to encourage low-carbon, fuel efficient cars. Initial registration taxes (purchase taxes) and company car taxes that are steeply differentiated by CO₂ boost the purchase of lower-emissions cars in the Netherlands, Denmark and France.

CO2 emissions from new cars in Europe: Country Ranking in 2013

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

This report is part of the eighth annual report T&E has published on progress in reducing CO2 emissions and improving the fuel efficiency of cars. This document focuses on average new car emissions in different Member States and highlights the effectiveness (or otherwise) of their different taxation policies in encouraging the purchase of lower carbon cars.The principal responsibility to reduce CO₂ in line with the Regulation falls upon the carmakers. Each carmaker has a target for the CO2 emissions of the new cars it sells in 2015 and 2020/1. However, there is much that Member States can do to help (or hinder) progress through the policies that they adopt nationally. Substantial differences in the rate of progress of companies are mirrored by the Member States, principally because of differences in the ways cars are taxed across the EU. While some countries have made conspicuous efforts to improve the fuel economy of their new cars, others have done very little to support the aims of the cars and CO₂ legislation.In 2013, the top six best performing countries all achieved annual emissions reductions of new cars of more than 5% (Netherlands, Greece, Slovenia, France, Finland and Bulgaria). In contrast the laggards, including Sweden and Poland, achieved less than 2.5% improvement in average CO₂ emissions from 2012. Countries with low average emissions typically have initial registration taxes (purchase taxes) and company car taxes that are steeply differentiated by CO₂. Annual circulation taxes are a modest driver of fuel efficiency even if they are graduated according to CO2 emissions, and high fuel taxes alone have a limited influence on the efficiency of the cars being bought – but do impact on the overall level of car use and fuel consumption.Low levels of diesel tax encourage higher proportions of diesel car sales and more vehicle use. Fuel should be taxed on the basis of its energy content with similar rates of excise duty applied to gasoline and diesel fuels to avoid market distortions leading to dieselisation.To see a sample analysis of the performances of six Member States, download the factsheets here:DenmarkFranceGermanyNetherlandsSwedenUnited Kingdom

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