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Finally the recognition – but still lots of difficult questions

Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E directorAfter almost two years of delay, it now seems that the European Commission is indeed going to do something about indirect land-use change caused by growing crops for biofuels. And a delay it has been. Faithful readers of the Bulletin must have noted our regular coverage of the true avalanche of reports, studies and positions by generally very cautious bodies like the OECD and the FAO, pointing out the big risks and dangers of biofuels if handled without proper care.

Leaked Commission proposal recognises flaws in biofuels targets

The Commission seems ready to accept that setting a general target for the use of biofuels in transport is not going to help reduce greenhouse gases. Its long-awaited proposal on indirect land-use change caused by growing biofuel crops was leaked earlier this month. Although still subject to change, the draft says the Commission believes biofuels should only be subsidised after 2020 ‘if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings … and are not produced from crops used for food and feed’.

Stricter CO2 standards needed or Europe won’t be able to compete

The Obama administration has finalised new rules to improve fuel economy for American car makers. They are expected to transform US cars and light trucks and lead to the widespread adoption of hybrid vehicles by 2025. The move threatens to leave Europe’s car industry at a competitive disadvantage unless stricter CO2 emissions targets are agreed for 2020 and beyond.

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.

Commission confirms car and van emissions limits for 2020

The European Commission has published proposals that will confirm carbon dioxide limits for new cars and vans for the year 2020 in a review of existing laws. The proposed legislation, released on 11 July, indicates that the average new car should emit no more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, and the average new van 147 g/km by 2020. T&E has welcomed the proposals but says a lot more could have been achieved if the Commission had shown more ambition, for example by setting a target of 80g for 2020 and 60g for 2025.

Breakthrough on efforts to reduce emissions from aircraft

Icao proposes ‘metric’ but NGOs still worried whether work will have a real impactEfforts to tackle emissions from aviation have taken a hesitant step forward, with the news that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) has endorsed an expert group’s recommendation on the way to measure fuel burn in flight. The recommendation is for a ‘metric’ system and test cycle to be the basis for setting fuel efficiency standards for new aircraft, but many concerns remain.

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