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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.

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.

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.

Aviators' boss 'confused' about airline efficiency: the impact of the oil price slide

The rapid slide in oil prices, down 41% since June, has left the aviation industry struggling to defend its continuing high fuel surcharges and continuing reports of record profit. Here is IATA's director general, Tony Tyler, updating his stance on oil prices in light of recent developments.

Scribbling in the margins – biodiesel’s efforts to make itself look good

Sometimes in life, you really need to prove that you’re good at something. Good at running, good at singing, good at football, good at your job. Other times, however, it may seem like it’s enough to just be better than someone else. Yes, maybe I’m not great at my job, but at least I’m better than that guy. Last week, we discovered that the European biodiesel industry is abandoning its attempt to argue that biodiesel is really good for the environment, and is instead focusing on trying to find something that has an even worse carbon performance than biodiesel.

The sweet smell of cartel: why truckmakers oppose cleaner and safer lorries

Margrethe Vestager, European Competition commissioner has announced that she is stepping up the anti-trust and cartel investigation against EU truckmakers. The Commission suspects several truckmakers of price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour. Cartel behaviour hampers innovation in safety and fuel efficiency.

Climate and energy targets finally agreed, but what does it mean for transport?

Last week, the European Council composed of heads of states and governments reached an agreement on the EU’s climate and energy targets for post-2020. We ended up with three targets: greenhouse gas reductions of at least 40% with binding national targets; a 27% target for renewable energy; and a non-binding 27% target for energy efficiency. The deal is fraught with “flexibilities”, and includes significant money transfers to poorer and coal-dependent EU countries. But what does this deal mean for transport?

EU biofuels reform without decarbonisation target is a crop-out

The EU took some small but welcome steps towards reforming its biofuels policy on 13 June when the council of energy ministers agreed a position. Clearly the content of this agreement - food-based biofuels capped at seven per cent of petrol and diesel sold, and weak national targets for advanced biofuels - is far from satisfactory as it is still fails to differentiate among the various types of biofuels and reward those with better environmental performance.

The return of the long-nose lorry

European lorries, and in particular the cabins, look like oversized bricks with flat noses and blunt shapes. That wasn’t always the case. Not so long ago long-nose lorries thundered over European highways just like they do now in the US. However, it seems Brussels is now plotting the comeback of the more aerodynamic cabin.

Biofuels industry learns an old lobby lesson: if you oppose the best, you get the worst

Last week energy ministers voted on the reform of the EU biofuels policy, but failed to come to an agreement. In what the Lithuanian presidency touted as a “fragile compromise”, the major changes to the Commission’s proposal were to increase the cap on biofuels produced from food crops from 5 to 7%, to weaken ILUC reporting, and to offer the possibility for member states to come up with their own sub-target for advanced biofuels that would also count double. T&E joined other NGOs calling for a more ambitious reform and for Member states to look beyond the narrow interests of their domestic biofuel industries and consider the real impacts of this policy on the environment and poor communities.

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