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Letter to Greek Presidency of EU Council regarding biofuels and indirect land-use change

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NGOs wrote to the incoming Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU stressing the urgency of reaching an ambitious agreement on the issue of biofuels’ adverse impacts on land use, climate change and hunger. Transport & Environment, BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Brot für die Welt, and Oxfam call for a meaningful level of cap for first-generation biofuels, correct carbon accounting that includes indirect land-use change (ILUC), and appropriate support for advanced biofuels.

Biofuels industry learns an old lobby lesson: if you oppose the best, you get the worst

Last week energy ministers voted on the reform of the EU biofuels policy, but failed to come to an agreement. In what the Lithuanian presidency touted as a “fragile compromise”, the major changes to the Commission’s proposal were to increase the cap on biofuels produced from food crops from 5 to 7%, to weaken ILUC reporting, and to offer the possibility for member states to come up with their own sub-target for advanced biofuels that would also count double. T&E joined other NGOs calling for a more ambitious reform and for Member states to look beyond the narrow interests of their domestic biofuel industries and consider the real impacts of this policy on the environment and poor communities.

When industry makes a racket, citizens end up paying the bill

It is a sign of the times that even the British Lords in the House of Lords have accepted that noise is a major problem. After recent noisy protests outside their building, some Lords were forced to flee their chambers, while others reported physical illness. For them, the culprit may be noisy protests, but for many people (44% of EU citizens to be more precise), this noise disturbance comes from vehicles.

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).

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).

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