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EU energy ministers reject a bad deal on biofuels but status quo is even worse

European energy ministers today rejected by a blocking minority a political deal to amend the EU biofuels policy. The rejected agreement, struck by the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU, would have limited the use of food-based biofuels that are eligible to count towards carbon reduction targets [1] to 7% of transport fuel – a cap close to the original 2020 target. The deal would have also mandated just the reporting of biofuel emissions from indirect land-use change (ILUC) [2] with a wide range of values for ILUC factors.

EU Energy Ministers must choose right path for the world’s climate and food security

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.

Letter to EU Environment Ministers calling for action on shipping NOx emissions

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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.

10 things that went well for sustainable transport in 2013

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).

‘A weak cars CO2 deal better than no deal’

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.

Campaigners try to break tar sands deadlock

A Nobel prize winner came to Brussels this month to put pressure on the EU to release implementing measures forthe fuel quality directive (FQD) which would assign higher carbon values to carbon-intensive fossil fuels such as tar sands. Jody Williams, who met with EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, spoke at an event organised by T&E in an attempt to call the EU for leadership over how to differentiate fuels based on their carbon intensity . It has been deadlocked for more than two years following a massive lobbying operation by the Canadian government and oil companies. 

Letter to the IMO Secretary-General concerning the review of low-sulphur fuel

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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.

Germany and its luxury carmakers force drivers to spend more on fuel

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 [1]. This additional fuel consumption will cause approximately 50 million tonnes of extra CO2 emissions.

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.

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