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Disentangling the biofuels policy

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After a decade of promoting biofuels, Europe is in the midst of reforming its policy. This section introduces you to the political positions of the three European institutions in early 2015 and explains what they mean. You also have a detailed account of events since the first policy was introduced in 2003.

T&E welcomes common rules to enable smarter road tolls in Europe

Earlier this week, Violeta Bulc, the EU’s head of transport, announced plans to develop a Europe-wide scheme to charge lorries and cars for using roads. Bulc clarified that the scheme would be optional, meaning that countries like the UK could opt out if they want to. The Transport Commissioner also stressed that the amount of the fee should be based exclusively on the distance driven and should not be time-dependent, which would bolster more efficient use of roads.

Electrification strategy: a shift to sustainable e­-mobility

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This paper sets out why a cross-vehicle, cross-modal strategy to accelerate the electrification of transport – a shift towards sustainable e-mobility – should be an essential part of Europe’s ambition to achieve an energy union. It would also bring the benefits of reduced oil imports and transport CO2 emissions as well as stimulate innovation and jobs.

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.

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. 

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