The full European Parliament today narrowly approved weak fuel quality rules that fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid. 337 MEPs voted against because they found the rules too weak, more than the 325 who approved them. But it fell short of the qualified majority of 376 needed for rejection.
Today’s vote by members of the Environment Committee against the proposed fuel quality rules sends a strong message to the European Commission that its implementing measures are too weak and fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil. The vote also reinforces MEPs’ support for a strong implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive’s (FQD) decarbonisation target and its continuation after 2020.
Two new reports have highlighted the continuing massive amounts of money with which the world’s leading industrial nations subsidise fossil fuels, saying they ‘lead to a misallocation of resources’ and ‘rig the game against renewables’.
It now seems that the revision of the Energy Tax Directive (ETD) is dead. Given how negotiations have been dragging on for three and a half years while only eating away at everything the Commission proposal sought to achieve, it is probably good to call it a day and start afresh.
This briefing looks at the main features of the 2014 proposal too implement Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Despite weakening – due to intense lobbying by the Canadian and US governments and oil companies – some of the elements of the 2014 proposal are worth implementing and strengthening, such as the new reporting of crude oil imports by market crude oil names (MCONs). In addition, the 2014 proposal gives fuel suppliers new ways to meet the FQD target, such as promoting low-carbon electricity used in transport.
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.
The Commission finally published rules to implement the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) last month, but environmental campaigners say they will fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in higher-polluting oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid.
Even if carbon prices in Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) trebled from today’s levels , including road transport in the ETS would only reduce oil use and CO2 emissions from transport by 3% over the next 15 years, a new study by Cambridge Econometrics reveals. This level is insufficient for road transport to make a proportionate contribution to Europe’s climate and energy security goals.
This briefing summarises a legal analysis highlighting how the proposals are contrary to the requirements of the current ETS Directive. It also covers new research illustrating why including transport in the ETS would be counterproductive; compared with a scenario of ambitious post-2020 vehicle CO2 standards there would be 160,000 fewer jobs, and €22/77 billion higher oil imports in 2030/2050. Climate policy, as well as transport emissions reductions, would stall.
Did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? This is because of EU law. And to meet this demand, global production of biofuels has skyrocketed. You may think ‘bio’ means biofuels are always good for the planet. But because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase in their use has a direct impact on agriculture worldwide. That means more deforestation to make way for new agricultural land, releasing the stored-up carbon of rainforests into the air and driving up global food prices. Co-produced by T&E, BirdLife Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau, The Little Book of Biofuels explains this Butterfly Effect of Europe’s biofuels policy and how we can end it.