On 12 December, energy ministers will come together in Brussels to vote on the European Commission’s proposed reform of EU biofuel policy. The reform is designed to reduce the environmental and social impacts of EU demand for biofuels – specifically the Indirect Land-Use Change (ILUC) effects of their production. This media advisory outlines how, if left unchanged, current policy will lead to higher instead of lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels, will destroy forests and damage biodiversity, will push small scale farmers off their land and threaten the food security of the world’s poorest people.
A letter to EU Environment Ministers from a coalition of environmental, health and citizens’ organisations expressing concern over the lack of ambition to address nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from international shipping.
Yes, this editorial has an unlikely title. If you have been following us, or the issues we work on, a little bit, the overwhelming impression is that things have been scaled back (emissions-trading aviation), postponed (the Fuel Quality Directive, possibly NOx from ship engines, truck CO2 emissions) and watered down (CO2 from cars, biofuels).
EU member states have accepted a proposal that weakens the proposed legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new cars from 2020. Following heavy lobbying by the German car industry, the 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre target for 2020 was effectively watered down by another 5 grams. T&E says the weakening will mean an increase in fuel bills of €775 over the lifetime of the average car.
The Clean Shipping Coalition and other environmental NGOs wrote to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation expressing concern at recent statements that suggested the IMO Secretariat itself was taking a position to advance the review date for the availability of low-sulphur fuels.
European motorists will see their fuel bills increase by €775 over the lifetime of their cars because of weakened CO2 limits agreed today by the 28 European governments . This additional fuel consumption will cause approximately 50 million tonnes of extra CO2 emissions.
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).
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.
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.
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.