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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.

EU governments’ agreement allows biofuels debate to progress

European governments today gave the green light to a political deal to amend the EU’s biofuels policy. The compromise by ambassadors, which must now be signed off by energy ministers, caps the use of food-based biofuels that are eligible to count towards carbon reduction targets to 7% of transport fuel – higher than the original 5% cap as proposed by the Commission in 2012, and not much below the 8.6% expected under the original 2020 target.

5 out of 7 EU carmakers on track to hit EU 2021 fuel efficiency targets – report

Five out of seven European carmakers are on track to meet their CO2 targets by the 2021 deadline if they keep progressing as they have since the introduction of the law in 2008, T&E’s 2014 cars and CO2 report reveals. The report, in its 9th edition, monitors the annual progress made by vehicle manufacturers to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new cars.

France and Sweden lead call for 8 year prohibition of safer lorries

Representatives of EU Member States today reached an agreement on changing weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins. The provisional agreement sets a delay of eight years [1] before redesigned lorry cabs can be driven on Europe’s roads, even though design changes could save hundreds of lives and billions of litres of diesel fuel. The call for a long delay was led by France and Sweden in an effort to shield national lorry makers Renault and Volvo, and was adopted despite opposition from other countries like the UK, Germany and Denmark.

CO2 cuts claimed by carmakers only half as good as they sound, warns T&E

Carbon emissions of the average car sold in Europe fell 3.9% in 2013 to 127g/km, according to official figures published today by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). Sustainable transport group, Transport & Environment (T&E), recognizes the progress made by car manufacturers in reducing climate-changing emissions. However, flaws in the current fuel efficiency and emissions test mean the official figures do not match up on the road.

Full Parliament votes for safer, cleaner lorries, but faces national roadblocks

The full European Parliament today almost unanimously [1] voted to change rules for lorry cabins that could save hundreds of lives and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The vote marks the beginning of the end for Europe’s brick-shaped lorries, which are dangerous and inefficient.

Transport to become largest source of CO2 emissions if politicians don’t act decisively, UN experts warn

The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published today alerts global leaders to the growing threat of uncontrolled transport emissions. The UN's climate panel says that transport is set to become the world’s biggest source of CO2 emissions unless lawmakers take strong action now. The report states: “Without aggressive and sustained policies (to cut CO2 from cars and trucks), transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than emissions from any other sector.”

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.

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