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The Little Book of Biofuels

Did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? This is because of EU law. And to meet this demand, global production of biofuels has skyrocketed. You may think ‘bio’ means biofuels are always good for the planet. But because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase in their use has a direct impact on agriculture worldwide. That means more deforestation to make way for new agricultural land, releasing the stored-up carbon of rainforests into the air and driving up global food prices. Co-produced by T&E, BirdLife Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau, The Little Book of Biofuels explains this Butterfly Effect of Europe’s biofuels policy and how we can end it.

Published on October 9, 2014 - 10:19

Realistic real-world driving emissions tests: a last chance for diesel cars?

Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road. 

Published on September 30, 2014 - 11:01

Ending lorries' deadly track record: a matter of (direct) vision

Lorries are involved in 4,200 fatal accidents in Europe every year. Many of the fatalities are vulnerable road users such as cyclists or pedestrians. Poor driver vision and lorry blind spots are a major cause of accidents. Unlike passenger cars, there are no direct vision requirements for lorries and regulators have instead focused on mirrors to reduce blind spots.

Published on September 22, 2014 - 15:44

Three reasons why road transport in the ETS is a bad idea

The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.

Published on September 4, 2014 - 12:59

400, 800 or no limit – optimal additional cab length

The European Commission has proposed to allow lorry makers to produce slightly longer cabs on the condition that they are shown to be safer and more aerodynamic. Existing lorry cab designs are dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists because of their flat front and many blind spots. The Commission refrained from setting a specific length limit and wants to define this through comitology (meetings with member states and the Commission). This T&E note looks at the different length options for safer lorries.

Published on July 29, 2014 - 12:52

Dirty Deals: how trade talks threaten to bring tar sands to Europe

The EU and the US are currently negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free-trade agreement, which would be the world’s largest. Recently the pressure on the EU to weaken the Fuel Quality Directive has increased notably and oil companies and refiners have found in/with TTIP a new lobby vehicle to attack the FQD. Find out more in this briefing.

Published on July 28, 2014 - 11:15

Draft proposal on pollutant emissions from NRMM

The aim of the European legislation on pollutant emissions from Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) is to protect human health and the environment. This can only be achieved by strict emissions limits aligned with Euro VI emissions limits for trucks and buses. The Commission draft proposal for NRMM legislation must be reinforced to achieve its objectives and be coherent with the emissions legislation for road sources.

In this briefing T&E explains how, as it stands, the draft proposal on NRMM emissions is incoherent and worryingly weak, and will fail to adequately address the burden on health caused by the diesel exhaust from these machines.

Published on April 14, 2014 - 15:49

Tackling real world emissions from cars

Light duty vehicles (LDVs) emit more pollutants on the road than in laboratory conditions. In order to solve this problem the Commission decided to introduce complementary type-approval procedures to measure gaseous and particulate emissions during real driving to make sure that they are similar to legal emission limits. To achieve this, the Real-Driving Emissions-Light Duty Vehicles (RDE-LDV) working group was created in 2011. Work in this group is currently focused on RDE tests during initial type approval.

This paper has been prepared by T&E to aid the work of this group. The paper considers the main topics of discussion: data analysis methods, boundary conditions, conformity factor, equipment (portable emissions measurement system – PEMS) and scope.

Published on April 14, 2014 - 15:43

FQD - Fuel Quality Directive or Frequently and Quietly Delayed?

The Fuel Quality Directive (known in the Brussels bubble by the acronym FQD) is the missing link in the Barroso Commission's 2020 climate and energy package. This law aims to reduce the carbon intensity of Europe's transport fuels by 6% by 2020. But its real impact depends on its ‘implementing measures’. These measures rank different types of biofuels and fossil fuels based on their greenhouse gas emissions. They also set up rules requiring oil companies to report the carbon intensity of the fuel they supply. Because of fierce lobbying by oil companies and the Canadian government, the FQD remains unimplemented to this day. This timeline shows the delayed progress of the FQD.
Published on March 27, 2014 - 09:57