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

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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.

FQD - an oily tunnel. But will there be light at the end?

EU media has reported that the European Commission is planning to weaken the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), a law to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of Europe's transport fuels by 6% by 2020, in order to appease oil industry, Canadian and US government lobbying. As is often the case, there is some truth to the reports on the FQD - but from the version of the draft proposal that T&E has seen, we can say that there are still some useful elements in this weakened text.

Ministers seal a modest reform of EU biofuels policy

Energy ministers today finally agreed to change the EU’s biofuels policy. After more than a year of talks, the Energy Council says it wants to limit the amount of food-based biofuels to 7% of petrol and diesel sold. Without policy change, around 8.6% would likely come from such biofuels; the Commission proposed a stricter limit of 5%. The deal also further weakens the reporting of biofuels emissions resulting from indirect land-use change (ILUC).

First delivery of devastating tar sands arrives in Europe

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.

Call for tender - Study on low-carbon transport fuel policy post-2020

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Transport & Environment would like to commission a study to explore and analyse policy options for a low-carbon transport fuel policy post-2020. The deadline for the submission of applications is 23 May 2014. Please see the downloadable PDF for more information.

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.

Canada, Big Oil and the Frequently and Quietly Delayed FQD

It’s March 2014, and we still don’t have a functioning Fuel Quality Directive - the only European law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuel. After 1181 days of delay, the lack of so-called ‘implementing rules’ matters a lot. These rules will determine whether Europe’s oil companies will only blend in biofuels to reduce their emissions, or also look for the ‘cleanest’ possible fossil fuels - which are most certainly not tar sands, to name one example.

Request for Commission internal review on delay of Fuel Quality Directive proposal

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The European Commission has delayed for years in proposing the implementing measures for article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive - the only law that would lower emissions from transport fuels. This request for an internal review of the failure to submit a new proposal was sent to the Commission in January 2014 by Transport & Environment, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace. We are still waiting for a response. For more information on the Fuel Quality Directive and the delay - see our timeline.

Parliament endorses continuation of Fuel Quality Directive, emphasizes its importance

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. 

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