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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New research from the US has highlighted the dangers for the fight against climate change if the EU does nothing to reduce dependence on dirty oil such as Canadian tar sands. The US Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says if the EU Fuel Quality Directive is not comprehensively implemented, the amount of tar sands oil imported from Canada by 2020 will be 175 times greater than in 2012. This flood of tar sands would increase the carbon intensity of European fuels by 1.5%, making it more difficult and more expensive to meet the FQD’s 6% target by 2020.
Figures released in the attached study 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.
In its draft ‘white paper’ published today, which outlines the proposed 2030 climate and energy package, the European Commission has included a line of text calling for an end, from 2020, of the 6% greenhouse gas reduction target for transport fuels, as part of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).