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EU biofuels reform – endgame for bad biofuels

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On 28 April 2015, the European Parliament was expected to adopt a final compromise for the reform of EU biofuels policy that would then be endorsed by the Council of the EU. This briefing outlines how, after several years of difficult discussions, this compromise lacks the necessary ambition to tackle properly the issue of indirect land-use change (ILUC). However, it sets some key principles for the phase-out of first-generation biofuels, recognises the problem of ILUC emissions and introduces new measures for other alternatives such as advanced biofuels and renewable electricity. T&E stresses that these elements will need to be captured in the 2030 transport fuels policies.

EU lawmakers agree to phase out land-based biofuels

The use of land-based biofuels as part of EU plans for the decarbonisation of transport will be restricted under a proposal endorsed by the European Parliament’s environment committee today. Transport & Environment cautiously welcomes the decision, which is expected to be approved by the full Parliament later this month, will limit at 7% the use of first-generation biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020.

How Canada and the oil industry undermined Europe’s fuel quality rules

The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) was first proposed in early 2007 as part of the so-called “integrated approach”, to ensure that the oil industry would also contribute to the fight against climate change. Its implementation has been frequently and quietly delayed until the end of 2014 due to massive amount of lobbying by oil interests.

Reasons to change the zero-rated criteria for biomass in the EU ETS

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This study is published to co-inside with the European Commission's public consultation on revising the EU emissions trading system (ETS) for the period 2021-2030. The current EU ETS only accounts for smokestack emissions but erroneously rates the carbon emissions of biomass burning at zero. The study reviews the current use of biomass under the EU ETS and proposes steps to ensure that biomass use is only incentivised when it delivers real GHG emissions reductions.

Up to 7% of carbon emissions in the ETS escape through loophole – study

Between 90 and 150 million tonnes of CO2 resulting from burning biomass with no climate safeguards are ‘labelled’ carbon neutral in Europe and thus do not require carbon permits under the EU emissions trading system (ETS), according to a new study published today. This represents up to 7% of all emissions in the ETS on an annual basis or three times the CO2 emissions released in Portugal in 2012.

Electro-mobility and alternative fuels central to ‘energy union’ agenda

Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.

MEPs confirm support for 6% biofuels cap

Members of the European Parliament's environment committee have backed a 6% limit on land-based biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020. Critics say many of these so-called first-generation biofuels drive up global food prices and emit as much carbon as conventional fossil fuel and even more in some cases.

Energy Union: The road ahead for more efficient transport

The much-hyped Energy Union communication has finally been published. Rumour has it that it represents the European Commission’s five-year work plan and the direction of travel to 2030. What is the road ahead for transport, and what can be further improved to make sure the EU can seriously tackle emissions from one of the most challenging sectors?

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