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Has the Commission violated EU law over biofuels?

A senior environmental lawyer has undertaken a new legal analysis of the Commission’s proposal to address indirect land-use change (ILUC) caused by the EU’s biofuels policy, revealing that the EU executive violated a fundamental principle of EU law in its response to the problem of ILUC.

Open letter to MEPs calling for a change in EU biofuels policy

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This open letter, signed by a large group of civil society groups and NGOs, calls on Members of the European Parliament to make crucial changes to the EU biofuels policy. The policy is not only failing in its basic objective of cutting CO2 emissions from Europe's transport, but is also costing governments and taxpayers €10 billion in support every year.

Accounting for uncertainty: precautionary principle and indirect land-use change

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This briefing paper by Tim Grabiel, senior lawyer at Defense Terre, centres on the precautionary principle and preventive action, two fundamental bedrocks of EU policy creation, and the need for them to be applied to the issue of indirect land-use change emissions from biofuels.

Wastes, residues and co-products for biofuels and bioliquids

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The Commission's proposal on biofuels, published in October 2012, introduced additional incentives for biofuels from wastes and residues. These biofuels can count four times towards the 10% target for renewables in transport. However, the proposed framework is not in conformity with waste legislation, nor adapted to the biofuel context. It also leaves residues and co-products undefined, instead opting just to include an incomplete list of raw materials in an annex without description or clarification. This briefing note, written by Tim Grabiel of Défense Terre, examines the treatment of waste, residues and co-products for biofuels and bioliquids within the Renewable Energy Directive and Fuel Quality Directive and suggests a different classification of these materials.

Classifying tar sands as ultra-high carbon fuel would bring massive CO2 savings

New research has suggested that the Commission is not only right to classify oil from tar sands as much more carbon-intensive than conventional fuels, but that doing so could save emissions of up to 19 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the roads. The study, commissioned by T&E, undermines claims by the oil industry that the proposal to implement the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) will only lead to global ‘reshuffling’ of different crudes but not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. 

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.

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