350 000 jobs ‘lost’ and chance to cut imports and emissions missedAverage fuel tax in Europe has fallen in real terms by €0.10 per litre since 1999, which has cost 350 000 jobs. These are the findings of a new study by T&E, which coincides with publication of the Commission’s proposals to revise the EU Energy Tax Directive. The proposed revision seeks to narrow the gap between Europe’s differing rates of diesel tax but leaves untouched the current ban on taxing aviation and shipping fuels.
Opinion - By Jos Dings
T&E DirectorAfter more than two years of dithering, the Commission has finally published its proposals for a revised energy tax directive. The message is mixed. There is a lot of progress in this directive, mainly to do with diesel taxes, but the big criticism is inconsistency. The Commission has made good progress in one area, but has totally failed to see that this can help other areas too.
A letter leaked to the Reuters news agency confirms that Canada has threatened the EU over European concerns about the environmental performance of petrol and diesel derived from tar sands. Canada originally denied rumours that it had threatened that the EU’s concerns about tar sands oil could affect an emerging trade agreement between the EU and Canada.
Transport & Environment has welcomed a European Commission proposal to raise minimum diesel tax rates in Europe, as new research shows the average fuel tax in Europe has declined in real terms by 10 cents a litre since 1999.
On the day the European Commission is set to propose an increase in the minimum level of road diesel taxation in Europe (1), a new study shows
that average road fuel taxes in Europe have declined by 10 cents per litre in real terms since 1999. If taxes had been inflation-corrected and the revenues
used to lower labour taxes, 350,000 jobs would have been saved, oil imports would have been cut by €11 billion, and road transport CO2 emissions would
have been 6% lower, according to the report (2).
Letter to Commissioners Hedegaard and Oettinger on including bioenergy standards in the EU ETS.
T&E's Nusa Urbancic writes in today's Financial Times:
Sir, Your special report on oil and gas (March 21) highlighted renewed investor interest in biofuels and tar sand oil following recent rises in the oil price. But it failed to mention California’s low-carbon fuel standard or the European Union’s revised fuel quality directive, two recent regulatory developments that will have important implications for these alternative sources.
Europe’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard is promising to stand firm on a growing battle between the EU and Canada over the environmental status of tar sand fuels. Reports last month said Canada was threatening to pull out of a wide-ranging trade deal with the EU if Brussels insisted on giving tar sands a higher carbon value than conventionally extracted oil, although the Canadians have since denied this.
A report by Germany’s Öko Institut says there is sufficient scientific knowledge for the EU to include the effects of indirect land use change (Iluc) in its sustainability criteria to determine which biofuels will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report was commissioned by the European Parliament’s environment committee, and puts further pressure on the Commission to include ILUC in its assessment of policy options on biofuels due to be published in July.
Briefing: kep tar sands out of Europe