Between 90 and 150 million tonnes of CO2 resulting from burning biomass with no climate safeguards are ‘labelled’ carbon neutral in Europe and thus do not require carbon permits under the EU emissions trading system (ETS), according to a new study published today. This represents up to 7% of all emissions in the ETS on an annual basis or three times the CO2 emissions released in Portugal in 2012.
Members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted today to limit at 6% the use of land-based biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020. They also approved accounting of indirect emissions (known as ILUC)  from biofuels under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) with a review clause to put them in all pieces of legislation after 2020 . This vote will put the brakes on the growing consumption of biofuels that increase greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional diesel and petrol.
As the European Parliament’s Environment Committee Rapporteur today presents his report on the reform of Europe’s biofuels policy, a new web documentary explores how the EU has failed to decarbonise transport through biofuels. The web documentary can be found at www.biofuelsreform.org.
The full European Parliament today narrowly approved weak fuel quality rules that fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid. 337 MEPs voted against because they found the rules too weak, more than the 325 who approved them. But it fell short of the qualified majority of 376 needed for rejection.
Today’s vote by members of the Environment Committee against the proposed fuel quality rules sends a strong message to the European Commission that its implementing measures are too weak and fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil. The vote also reinforces MEPs’ support for a strong implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive’s (FQD) decarbonisation target and its continuation after 2020.
Even if carbon prices in Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) trebled from today’s levels , including road transport in the ETS would only reduce oil use and CO2 emissions from transport by 3% over the next 15 years, a new study by Cambridge Econometrics reveals. This level is insufficient for road transport to make a proportionate contribution to Europe’s climate and energy security goals.
After five years of heavy-handed lobbying by Canada, the US and oil majors , the European Commission today published fuel quality rules that fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid.
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).
The first shipment of highly polluting Canadian tar sands oil to Europe is due to arrive in Spain tomorrow (Thursday May 29). Environment groups Friends of the Earth Europe, Transport & Environment and Greenpeace warn that this delivery provides a snapshot of Europe’s energy future – a continued addiction to ever-dirtier oil.