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Flood of tar sands imports equivalent to adding 6 million cars to Europe’s roads – study

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 [1]. 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.

T&E, Mayor of London and Olympic cyclist call for safer lorries, now

A ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to make lorries safer and more fuel-efficient comes before the European Parliament this month. MEPs on the European Parliament’s transport committee will discuss loosening regulations on the dimensions of lorry cabs that will allow them to be more aerodynamic and give drivers greater peripheral vision.

Civil society and industry urge Barroso to maintain the Fuel Quality Directive post-2020

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Ahead of the publication of the EU's Climate and Energy Strategy for 2030, civil society organisations and industry wrote to Commission President José Manuel Barroso urging him to maintain the Fuel Quality Directive as an important tool in the post-2020 decarbonisation framework. They called on the Commission to produce a proper impact assessment and initiate a public consultation on how this policy should be improved and continued.

Weight sensors for lorries: effective, affordable, reliable

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Overloading of lorries is one of the most common infringements found in road freight transport: One in three lorries controlled is overloaded by 10% or even 20% over safe legal weight limits. This poses serious problems to infrastructure, road safety and the environment.

Analysis of options for full implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive

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This analysis, shared in April stakeholder meetings in 2013 by the Commission, looks at regulatory options and financial and greenhouse gas impacts of implementation of the reporting methods of the Fuel Quality Directive.

Biofuel limit delay costing billions and increasing emissions

Efforts to reduce the amount of food crops used to make transport fuels have suffered a setback with the defeat of a proposal that would have limited how much of the EU’s renewable fuels target could be made up from food-based biofuels. T&E said the proposal “was ugly, but the status quo is even worse”.

Carmakers failing citizens on filters

The health of millions of European citizens is being put at risk by carmakers’ failure to put cheap particle filters on new direct-injection petrol engines. The new engines are more fuel-efficient and emit much less carbon dioxide than traditional petrol engines, but T&E-commissioned testing shows they typically emit around 1,000 times more harmful particles, which cause cancer and pose other threats to human health.

Implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive

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In 2009, the EU revised the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) and set out a new target in its Article 7a to reduce the carbon intensity (CO2 emissions) of road transport fuels by 6% between 2010 and 2020. However, in the absence of implementation provisions this target is still not in force – 4 years on. We are concerned that Europe’s oil supply is in fact “recarbonising” – despite the FQD target. Without further action, the EU will increase its use of fuels produced from tar sands and oil shale, according to the Commission’s Impact Assessment study.

Polar Code ‘lacks ambition’

The International Maritime Organisation earlier this month reached preliminary agreement on a ‘Polar Code’ of safety and environmental rules for ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. But the final draft contains few meaningful environmental provisions, such as requiring vessels to have strengthened hulls or even operate at reduced speed in supposedly ‘ice-free’ waters.

Advanced methods of Monitoring, Reporting and Verifying of shipping emissions save money

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This study, by consultancy CE Delft,  concludes that advanced fuel and emissions monitoring of large ships could help save owners and operators up to €9 million per year. These savings would come from the lower operational costs of using automated systems such as fuel flow meters or continuous emissions monitoring, which would monitor, report and verify ship emissions and fuel-burn more efficiently.