As the first shipment of carbon-intensive Canadian tar sands oil arrived in Europe last month, the Commission was considering making it only optional for fuel suppliers to report on the carbon intensity of fossil fuels such as tar sands or oil shale under the Fuel Quality Directive.
Large diesel-powered equipment that emits black carbon and contributes to climate change and air pollution will not have to limit emissions of ultrafine particulate matter (PM) under a draft EU law being considered.
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.
The Commission’s proposed new lorry carbon dioxide strategy lacks decisive action to reduce the sector’s growing emissions in Europe, green transport campaigners have said. Under the plan, lorry CO2 emissions would be measured, certified and reported in the hope that increased transparency will accelerate improvements.
The vehicle pictured may look like something from a James Bond film, but it is one of a range of ‘cargo bikes’ that have been heavily promoted over the last couple of months, following the conclusion of a survey showing the potential benefits of deliveries by bicycle.
France’s Assemblée Nationale approved a scaled-down toll for lorries, which will do little to improve logistics efficiency as well as lorries’ environmental and health impacts. The decision goes against a wider trend of expanding or introducing ambitious lorry km-charging schemes in other countries like Germany, Poland, Austria and Belgium.
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 latest figures on carbon dioxide emissions from vans have confirmed EU limits are too weak. European Environment Agency data shows that average CO2 emissions from vans in 2013 were 173.3 grams per kilometre, which is below the 2017 target of 175g.
Germany is arguing for the EU to tighten its target to cut energy consumption, in a bid to ease dependence on Russian gas. According to documents quoted by the Financial Times newspaper, Germany has called on the EU to set a binding target for energy efficiency to offer the ‘right impetus’ to overhaul Europe’s energy infrastructure.