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).
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 . 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
In this letter, more than 50 leading scientists from around the world call for President Barroso to quickly implement the Fuel Quality Directive - a law which would keep dirty tar sands out of Europe.
Hopes of having the full social and environmental effects of biofuels reflected in EU legislation before 2020 are fading after another round of negotiations led to further weakening of the European Commission’s proposal. With an agreement likely in the Council of Ministers next month, it looks as if the requirement for member states to report the effects of indirect land-use change (ILUC) will be further weakened. Also, food-based biofuels that are worse for climate change than traditional petrol and diesel will be allowed to increase by 50% from today’s levels and will not be capped under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).