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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).

Civil society and industry urge Barroso to maintain the Fuel Quality Directive post-2020

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Ahead of the publication of the EU's Climate and Energy Strategy for 2030, civil society organisations and industry wrote to Commission President José Manuel Barroso urging him to maintain the Fuel Quality Directive as an important tool in the post-2020 decarbonisation framework. They called on the Commission to produce a proper impact assessment and initiate a public consultation on how this policy should be improved and continued.

EU clinging to ‘false euphoria’ about biofuels

Hopes of having the full social and environmental effects of biofuels reflected in EU legislation before 2020 are fading after another round of negotiations led to further weakening of the European Commission’s proposal. With an agreement likely in the Council of Ministers next month, it looks as if the requirement for member states to report the effects of indirect land-use change (ILUC) will be further weakened. Also, food-based biofuels that are worse for climate change than traditional petrol and diesel will be allowed to increase by 50% from today’s levels and will not be capped under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).

Las arenas bituminosas y la Directiva sobre la Calidad de los Combustibles

Lo que es: La Directiva relativa a la Calidad de los Combustibles (FQD) establece para 2020 el objetivo de reducir en un 6% las emisiones de carbono de combustibles de transporte. Se trata de un objetivo acorde a la neutralidad tecnológica que deja a la industria una gama de opciones para cumplirlo de la forma económicamente más rentable. Una de estas formas es suministrando combustibles alternativos bajos en carbono como los biocombustibles sostenibles o la electricidad limpia.

Lo que no es: La propuesta de la Comisión de implementar la FQD asigna la intensidad de carbono a todas las materias primas de combustibles fósiles, concretamente, las arenas bituminosas, el carbón líquido, los esquistos bituminosos, el gas licuado y el petróleo convencional. NO discrimina los recursos según su localización geográfica; sólo se trata de la intensidad de carbono de cada fuente de combustible. Conforme a esta propuesta, los esquistos bituminosos tienen un valor de intensidad de carbono más alto que las arenas bituminosas. El «valor predeterminado» para las arenas bituminosas NO sólo está establecido para el petróleo canadiense, sino también para todos los combustibles que provengan de arenas bituminosas de cualquier parte del mundo, incluyendo Venezuela, Rusia, Madagascar y los EE.UU.

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Nisipurile Bituminoase si Directiva Privind Calitatea Carburantilor

Despre ce este vorba: Directiva privind Calitatea Carburantilor stabileste o tinta de 6% de reducere a intensitatii emisiilor de carbon pentru toti carburantii din transport, care sa fie atinsa pana in 2020. Aceasta tinta este neutra tehnologic, insemnand ca industria poate alege cea mai eficienta cale pentru a o atinge. Spre exemplu, acestia pot furniza carburanti cu intensitate mica de carbon, precum biocombustibili sustenabili sau electricitate din surse regenerabile.

Despre ce nu este vorba: Propunerea Comisiei pentru implementarea Directivei privind Calitatea Carburantilor aloca valori de intensitate a carbonului pentru fiecare sursa de combustibili fosili, precum nisipurile bituminoase, carbunele lichid, titeiul de sist, gazul lichefiat si titeiul conventional. Aceasta nu discrimineaza intre surse pe baza locatiei geografice. Titeiul de sist primeste o valoare mai mare a intensitatii carbonului decat nisipurile bituminoase. “Valorea implicita” pentru nisipurile bituminoase nu se aplica numai celor din Canada, dar tuturor carburantilor produsi din nisipuri bituminoase oriunde pe glob, incluzand tari ca Venezuela, Rusia, Madagascar si Statele Unite.

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Sables bitumineux et directive sur la qualité des carburants – de quoi sagit-il?

Contenu et objectifs: La Directive sur la qualité des carburants - FQD pour ses sigles en anglais - fixe comme objectif de diminuer de 6 %, d’ici 2020, l’intensité carbone des carburants utilisés dans les transports. C’est un objectif technologiquement neutre puisqu’il laisse aux industriels le choix parmi tout un éventail d’options pour y parvenir de la manière la plus rentable. Une de ces possibilités consiste à fournir des carburants moins carbonés, comme l’électricité propre.

Les faux débats: La Commission propose pour la mise en œuvre de la FQD d’attribuer une intensité carbone à toutes les sources de carburants, qu’il s’agisse des sables bitumineux, du charbon liquéfié, des schistes bitumineux, du gaz liquéfié ou du pétrole conventionnel. Elle NE fait PAS de distinction entre les sources sur la base de leur origine géographique. Il s’agit uniquement de l‘intensité carbone de chaque source de carburants. Avec cette proposition, les schistes bitumineux ont un taux d’intensité carbone plus élevé que les sables bitumineux. La «valeur par défaut» spécifique pour les sables bitumineux, NE s’applique PAS seulement au pétrole canadien, mais à tous les carburants qui sont produits à partir de sables bitumineux, où que ce soit dans le monde, y compris au Venezuela, en Russie, à Madagascar et aux États-Unis.

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Tar sands and the Fuel Quality Directive - what is it all about?

What it IS about: The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) sets a 6% reduction target in the carbon intensity of transport fuels to be met by 2020. This is a technology-neutral target that leaves to the industry a range of options to meet it in the most cost-effective way. What it's NOT about: The Commission proposal to implement the FQD assigns carbon intensity to all fossil fuel feedstocks, namely: tar sands, coal-to-liquid, oil shale, gas-to-liquid and conventional oil. It does NOT discriminate between sources on the basis of geographical locations; it’s all about the carbon intensity of each fuel source.

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Letter to Barroso on the implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive and unconventional fuels

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This letter by environmental groups to President Barroso underlines the urgent need to re-submit to the Environment Council a robust and science-based implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) after the process of the impact assessment is concluded. Recent research has shown that this proposal would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Europe, but also result in global GHG emissions reductions of 60 million tonnes.

Environmental and economic impacts of FQD implementation

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A new study by Carbon Matters and CE Delft shows that proper implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) with different values assigned to different types of unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands and oil shale, can shift investments away from these ultra-high carbon energy sources towards lower carbon ones, leading to global greenhouse gas savings. As such, the study underpins the need for keeping such differentiated values in the legislative proposal by the European Commission, which is currently subject to an impact assessment.

Anger as Commission allows ‘sustainable’ palm oil

Environmental groups have reacted angrily to news that the Commission has approved a scheme that would allow fuels made from palm oil to count towards the EU’s renewable fuels target. The decision threatens to reignite the controversy that indirect land-use change (ILUC) is not being taken into account in the EU’s biofuels policy.

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