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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).

T&E comment on final Cars & CO2 trilogue deal

In a trilogue meeting today, European Institutions proposed a one-year delay to the 95g target, so that 95% of new car sales will have to comply with the target in 2020 and 100% in 2021. Additionally,  carmakers will be able to use 7.5g of supercredits for selling electric cars from 2020-22. This Friday, the deal must be confirmed in a meeting of Europe´s Member States.

Nobel Peace laureate calls on the EU to act on dirty oil

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work to ban landmines, and Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, spoke today at a press conference in Brussels about the impact of the expansion of tar sands on local communities. She also emphasised the need for EU leadership on curbing the high-energy unconventional fuels that accelerate climate change. Jody Williams met with over 200 women from 13 communities during a recent fact-finding mission to the Alberta tar sands.

Shipping: the final EU climate frontier

This comment by Aoife O'Leary was first published by the European Voice. During the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit, it is worth remembering that there is one huge industry that has so far managed to evade any formalised efforts at emissions reductions. Every industry and transport sector in the European Union has greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures in place, except for the shipping sector. The EU has established goals on the emissions reductions it wants to achieve from the sector, but seems to have no intention of enacting anything that will bring it anywhere near those goals, anytime soon.

Push to cut paperwork must not weaken green laws

The Clean Shipping Coalition has warned that a drive to cut paperwork could undermine the effectiveness of environmental regulations. The warning from the coalition of environmental NGOs, including T&E, comes as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) processes the results from a six-month consultation on how to help ship operators and national administrations reduce their administrative costs.

The environmental effect of the ETS for aviation

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The European Commission has proposed to change the geographical scope of the EU ETS. This would result in fewer emissions under the cap, and consequently a smaller absolute emissions reduction. This note by CE Delft analyses how the cap would need to be changed in order to ensure a constant absolute emission reduction from the aviation sector. It finds that the cap needs to be 15-55% lower than the one proposed by the Commission.

New call for tender for study on energy crops in Europe

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Transport & Environment, BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau would like to commission a study to analyse the sustainable potential of energy biomass (specifically energy crops, short rotation coppice and forests) as a source of bioenergy in Europe.

50/50 snap back for aviation ETS

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The new Commission proposal cuts the emissions coverage and environmental impact of the aviation Emissions Trading System by two thirds. Only the portion of flights leaving the European Economic Area (EEA) which are within EEA ‘airspace’ would be covered under this proposal. The proposal also exempts from emissions coverage all carriers operating on routes from the EEA to over 80 developing countries with less than 1% of aviation emissions.

Position paper: Longer and heavier lorries in the EU

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The introduction of longer and heavier lorries (LHVs) could lead to more CO2 and pollutant emissions, increased road accident risk and higher infrastructure bills for taxpayers. These impacts are contrary to the EU’s objectives to make transport cleaner and safer. By making road transport cheaper, it will also undermine the EU (Transport White Paper) goal of shifting freight to rail. Therefore, T&E believes the introduction of LHVs is unacceptable under the present conditions.

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