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MEPs to size up ministers' biofuels bargain

EU energy ministers have agreed a position on biofuels reform, backing a cap on the use of food crops at 7% but further weakening ILUC reporting compared to the Commission’s original proposal. They also set weak national sub-targets for advanced biofuels. But a more long-term concern is the absence of a post-2020 decarbonisation target for transport fuels.

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.

eMobility more than ‘just electric cars’

This article was first published in Parliament Magazine on 13 June 2014The Ukraine crisis highlights the urgent need to rethink Europe’s energy use and dependence. Two thirds of EU oil use is in transport, and transport itself is still almost 100 per cent dependent on oil. A third of the EU’s oil comes from Russia, entailing a massive capital transfer of around €100bn a year.

Ministers seal a modest reform of EU biofuels policy

Energy ministers today finally agreed to change the EU’s biofuels policy. After more than a year of talks, the Energy Council says it wants to limit the amount of food-based biofuels to 7% of petrol and diesel sold. Without policy change, around 8.6% would likely come from such biofuels; the Commission proposed a stricter limit of 5%. The deal also further weakens the reporting of biofuels emissions resulting from indirect land-use change (ILUC).

EU governments’ agreement allows biofuels debate to progress

European governments today gave the green light to a political deal to amend the EU’s biofuels policy. The compromise by ambassadors, which must now be signed off by energy ministers, caps the use of food-based biofuels that are eligible to count towards carbon reduction targets to 7% of transport fuel – higher than the original 5% cap as proposed by the Commission in 2012, and not much below the 8.6% expected under the original 2020 target.

Shell in top 3 of gamblers in high-risk tar sands investments

Shell ranked third in the list of oil companies with the largest exposure to high-cost, high-carbon tar sands production, according to a new report. The analysis found that Shell has almost $26 billion (€19 billion) in planned investments in tar sands extraction for the next decade, which will only see a return if the barrel of oil costs more than $95 – a price tag that assumes world governments won’t fulfil their pledge to tackle global warming and strong oil demand.

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