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Commission considering optional carbon reporting as first tar sands arrive

As the first shipment of carbon-intensive Canadian tar sands oil arrived in Europe last month, the Commission was considering making it only optional for fuel suppliers to report on the carbon intensity of fossil fuels such as tar sands or oil shale under the Fuel Quality Directive.

MEPs to size up ministers' biofuels bargain

EU energy ministers have agreed a position on biofuels reform, backing a cap on the use of food crops at 7% but further weakening ILUC reporting compared to the Commission’s original proposal. They also set weak national sub-targets for advanced biofuels. But a more long-term concern is the absence of a post-2020 decarbonisation target for transport fuels.

Commission vague about lorry CO2 plans

The Commission’s proposed new lorry carbon dioxide strategy lacks decisive action to reduce the sector’s growing emissions in Europe, green transport campaigners have said. Under the plan, lorry CO2 emissions would be measured, certified and reported in the hope that increased transparency will accelerate improvements.

EU biofuels reform without decarbonisation target is a crop-out

The EU took some small but welcome steps towards reforming its biofuels policy on 13 June when the council of energy ministers agreed a position. Clearly the content of this agreement - food-based biofuels capped at seven per cent of petrol and diesel sold, and weak national targets for advanced biofuels - is far from satisfactory as it is still fails to differentiate among the various types of biofuels and reward those with better environmental performance.

Germany backs binding energy efficiency target

Germany is arguing for the EU to tighten its target to cut energy consumption, in a bid to ease dependence on Russian gas. According to documents quoted by the Financial Times newspaper, Germany has called on the EU to set a binding target for energy efficiency to offer the ‘right impetus’ to overhaul Europe’s energy infrastructure.

Ministers seal a modest reform of EU biofuels policy

Energy ministers today finally agreed to change the EU’s biofuels policy. After more than a year of talks, the Energy Council says it wants to limit the amount of food-based biofuels to 7% of petrol and diesel sold. Without policy change, around 8.6% would likely come from such biofuels; the Commission proposed a stricter limit of 5%. The deal also further weakens the reporting of biofuels emissions resulting from indirect land-use change (ILUC).

Ministers reject megatrucks but stall safer lorry designs for 8 more years

EU transport ministers decided today to delay changes to the weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins, which would allow safer and more fuel efficient lorries to be produced [1]. Under Franco-Swedish pressure, ministers regrettably agreed to ban the introduction of safer and cleaner lorry cabs from Europe’s roads for at least eight years. In a more positive note, ministers rejected a proposal to allow megatrucks to cross borders.

Lorries: 21st-century fleet or dinosaurs on our roads?

Driving Europe’s transport industry in a more sustainable direction is a formidable challenge, not least because it means a fairly fundamental change in the way fairly large industries do their business. It is in the DNA of these industries to resist change forced upon them by politicians. Carmakers oppose CO2 standards that make them fit clean tech to their cars, the aviation and shipping industries oppose doing their share and of course oil companies fight any kind of change that could end our addiction to their products.

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