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Tar sands, heavy crudes, and the EU Fuel Quality Directive

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 The European Union’s fuel-quality directive currently proposes to assign a default emissions value to natural bitumen (oilsands) that is higher than the value for conventional crude oil, inrecognition of the increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the production and upgrading of oilsands. 

EU biofuels target will reduce available food

A new blow to the EU’s biofuels policy has come from the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter. In a letter to the Commission and member states sent last month, de Schutter says there will not be enough European land available to grow crops if the transport sector is to meet the EU’s target of a 10% share of its fuel with biofuels by 2020. 

Environmental and economic impacts of FQD implementation

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A new study by Carbon Matters and CE Delft shows that proper implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) with different values assigned to different types of unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands and oil shale, can shift investments away from these ultra-high carbon energy sources towards lower carbon ones, leading to global greenhouse gas savings. As such, the study underpins the need for keeping such differentiated values in the legislative proposal by the European Commission, which is currently subject to an impact assessment.

Impact of EU value for tar sands equal to removing up to 7 million cars from Europe’s roads – study

New evidence on the impacts of a proposed EU law devised to cut emissions from diesel and petrol production overturns claims by the oil industry that the law would not save greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Biofuels – can we make it as simple as cars?

Opinion by Jos Dings. So now it’s official – the EU’s biofuel policy is not only counterproductive for the environment, it is also a massive economic drag. A new study we put out on 17 April shows that, on a total turnover in the range of €16bn, the sector receives about €10bn in public support per year.

Biofuels failing the economy as well as environment

The total annual public support for biofuels production in Europe is around €10 billion, equivalent to a bailout of Cyprus every year, according to a new report. T&E says the finding confirms that most biofuels on the market today are not only bad for the environment but do not help Europe’s economy either. The report comes as the leading MEP in the environment committee of the European Parliament has proposed to classify different biofuels according to their environmental impacts by including their emissions from so-called indirect land-use change (ILUC).

Keeping EU biofuels policy alive costs society €10bn a year, study shows

CORRECTION NOTE: On 23 August 2013, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), author of the study, corrected the estimates of the public support the EU biofuels industry received in 2011. The revised overall estimate for EU biofuels subsidies is now €5.5-6.9 (average 6.2) billion per year, and not €9.3-10.7 (average 10) billion per year, as originally published in April 2013. According to IISD, the revision is due to a calculation error on the volume of biofuels eligible for tax exemptions in certain countries. All other estimates remain the same, including those for the cost of consumption mandates which make up the largest type of public support. "The conclusions and recommendations presented in the original report also remain unchanged", IISD stated in its Addendum.

Uneven returns? The economics of EU biofuels policy

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Europe is reforming its biofuels policy due to concerns raised about its impact on global land use change patterns and global food markets. The negative environmental impacts of the biofuels policy have been well demonstrated, but what is less clear are the economic implications. T&E, the EEB, BirdLife Europe and IISD have therefore funded this report to evaluate the costs and the benefits of the EU’s biofuels policy and its implications for the EU governments and citizens, who are currently facing economic hardship.

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