A group of NGOs, including T&E, has sent an open letter to EU president Herman van Rompuy, on the eve of the European Council on 17-18 June, pointing out how investing in a green economy could help the EU overcome the economic crisis.
The European Commission’s communication on biofuel sustainability (1), published today, will do precious little to address the impacts on land and emissions from crop-derived fuels used in transport, according to BirdLife International, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau and Transport & Environment. The four environmental groups remain deeply concerned about the Commission’s failure to address the critical issue of expansion of agricultural land into environmentally sensitive areas when food production is displaced by fuel crops, a process known as indirect land use change (ILUC).
The environment impact of oil produced from ‘tar sands’ is becoming an increasingly high-profile issue, after three developments in the last month that could be important in the fight for cleaner fuels. MEPs and a group of NGOs have warned that fuel quality legislation agreed in 2008 could be undermined because the true impact of tar sands on CO2 emissions is not reflected in the small print of the law now being discussed, and another NGO says oil from some of the most carbon-intensive sources is probably already in use on this side of the Atlantic.
Efforts to reduce climate emissions from road freight transport were given a boost last month when the Commission suggested the introduction of carbon dioxide emissions standards for the first time. The idea has been floated in a communication on clean and energy-efficient vehicles, which concentrates mainly on setting a framework for the development of electric cars.
A report for the German government says a range of measures, headed by traffic avoidance, needs to be adopted if transport is to make a meaningful contribution to fighting climate change. The report comes as the latest TERM report on the environmental performance of Europe’s transport shows polluting modes are still rising.