The full European Parliament today agreed to cap the use of land-based biofuels in transport, with the aim of being a check on the growing consumption of biofuels that increase carbon emissions compared to conventional diesel and petrol. Today’s vote marks the endgame for the EU’s public policy support for biofuels, after more than a decade.
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 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.
In its most significant vote on the 2030 climate and energy package, the European Parliament today rebuked the European Commission and sent a strong signal to member states about the importance of complete carbon accounting under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), the EU law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels.
In its draft ‘white paper’ published today, which outlines the proposed 2030 climate and energy package, the European Commission has included a line of text calling for an end, from 2020, of the 6% greenhouse gas reduction target for transport fuels, as part of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).
New figures released today by the US Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) show that if Europe does not act, its imports of tar sands, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, would likely skyrocket from about 4,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2012 to over 700,000 bpd in 2020 . The resulting emissions increase in transport would be the equivalent of adding six million cars to Europe’s roads. The 2020 scenario will occur if the EU clean fuel standard, set out in the Fuel Quality Directive, is not comprehensively implemented.
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work to ban landmines, and Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, spoke today at a press conference in Brussels about the impact of the expansion of tar sands on local communities. She also emphasised the need for EU leadership on curbing the high-energy unconventional fuels that accelerate climate change. Jody Williams met with over 200 women from 13 communities during a recent fact-finding mission to the Alberta tar sands.
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament today refused to allow the rapporteur of the biofuels draft law, MEP Corinne Lepage, to start negotiations with member states in a fast second-reading procedure. This procedural vote has important consequences because it means a decision on the future of biofuels in Europe is unlikely to be taken before 2015.
The European Parliament voted today to limit the expansion of land-based biofuels, but did not give the rapporteur of the file, MEP Corinne Lepage, a mandate to negotiate the agreement with the EU countries and the European Commission. This creates further uncertainty on the future of biofuels in Europe.