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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.

Shipping: the final EU climate frontier

This comment by Aoife O'Leary was first published by the European Voice. During the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit, it is worth remembering that there is one huge industry that has so far managed to evade any formalised efforts at emissions reductions. Every industry and transport sector in the European Union has greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures in place, except for the shipping sector. The EU has established goals on the emissions reductions it wants to achieve from the sector, but seems to have no intention of enacting anything that will bring it anywhere near those goals, anytime soon.

The 'car chancellor’ should consider drivers and the environment too

This Comment by Greg Archer was first published by EurActiv. The scandal of Germany’s heavy-handed attempts to block an agreed deal on CO2 standards for cars has sunk to new levels with news that BMW’s main shareholding family gifted €690,000 to Chancellor Merkel’s party. The badly timed donation came just a few days before she finally succeeded in pressuring Ireland and Portugal, and bribing the UK to take Germany’s side. Working in tandem with German carmakers (which used the leverage from their plants in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) enough votes were secured to block the deal in a heated session of the Environment Council.

When is ein deal not a deal?

This Comment by Greg Archer was first published by European Voice.The discussion on how to lower the average new car emissions by 2020 has been acrimonious and protracted. Even though improving fuel efficiency is a no-regrets policy with multiple benefits: cheaper motoring costs; improved EU-energy security and the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Commission’s proposal on biofuels: the story of a missed opportunity

With this new blog post, T&E programme manager for clean fuels Nusa Urbancic unveils the process which has led to the weakening of a draft proposal that deals with biofuels sustainability, turning it into a missed opportunity. Urbancic also hints at the way in which the Parliament and Council can improve the proposal in the months to come.

ICAO: Fighting for relevance

Will ICAO be able to rise to the challenge of approving a global measure to cut GHG emissions from aircraft? Will such a global measure be convincing enough for the US, China and the other 26 countries who are fiercely opposing the EU ETS? And will the EU manage to keep a firm stand on its emission trading scheme? T&E programme manager on aviation, Bill Hemmings, answers some of these questions in this post.

Tougher CO2 Targets for Cars: Emission Impossible?

In this blog post, T&E programme manager Greg Archer describes the policy and political consequences of the newly-released Commission's proposal on car CO2 emissions. He also tries to figure out the future scenarios that the proposal will be confronted with, once discussed by the parliament and the Council. The phrase "Emissions impossible", mentioned in the title was originally coined by Italian MEP Guido Sacconi.

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