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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The European Parliament's Environment Committee votes on 19 March 2014 on the flawed agreement on aviation in the Emissions Trading System. Transport & Environment believes this deal should be REJECTED and urges all Members of the European Parliament to vote NO to it in order to secure a better deal.