The United States and Canadian governments are using ongoing trade talks to push the European Union to allow devastating tar sands unfettered access to its market, according to a new report out today.
Following the end of the public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the EU-US free trade negotiations (known as TTIP), the European Environmental Bureau, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and Transport & Environment call on the Commission to exclude ISDS from TTIP and to publish all contributions. The EEB, EPHA and T&E are members of the EU’s TTIP advisory group representing civil society.
France’s Assemblée Nationale approved a scaled-down toll for lorries, which will do little to improve logistics efficiency as well as lorries’ environmental and health impacts. The decision goes against a wider trend of expanding or introducing ambitious lorry km-charging schemes in other countries like Germany, Poland, Austria and Belgium.
Energy ministers today finally agreed to change the EU’s biofuels policy. After more than a year of talks, the Energy Council says it wants to limit the amount of food-based biofuels to 7% of petrol and diesel sold. Without policy change, around 8.6% would likely come from such biofuels; the Commission proposed a stricter limit of 5%. The deal also further weakens the reporting of biofuels emissions resulting from indirect land-use change (ILUC).
EU transport ministers decided today to delay changes to the weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins, which would allow safer and more fuel efficient lorries to be produced . Under Franco-Swedish pressure, ministers regrettably agreed to ban the introduction of safer and cleaner lorry cabs from Europe’s roads for at least eight years. In a more positive note, ministers rejected a proposal to allow megatrucks to cross borders.
European governments today gave the green light to a political deal to amend the EU’s biofuels policy. The compromise by ambassadors, which must now be signed off by energy ministers, caps the use of food-based biofuels that are eligible to count towards carbon reduction targets to 7% of transport fuel – higher than the original 5% cap as proposed by the Commission in 2012, and not much below the 8.6% expected under the original 2020 target.
The first shipment of highly polluting Canadian tar sands oil to Europe is due to arrive in Spain tomorrow (Thursday May 29). Environment groups Friends of the Earth Europe, Transport & Environment and Greenpeace warn that this delivery provides a snapshot of Europe’s energy future – a continued addiction to ever-dirtier oil.
Five out of seven European carmakers are on track to meet their CO2 targets by the 2021 deadline if they keep progressing as they have since the introduction of the law in 2008, T&E’s 2014 cars and CO2 report reveals. The report, in its 9th edition, monitors the annual progress made by vehicle manufacturers to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new cars.
Representatives of EU Member States today reached an agreement on changing weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins. The provisional agreement sets a delay of eight years  before redesigned lorry cabs can be driven on Europe’s roads, even though design changes could save hundreds of lives and billions of litres of diesel fuel. The call for a long delay was led by France and Sweden in an effort to shield national lorry makers Renault and Volvo, and was adopted despite opposition from other countries like the UK, Germany and Denmark.
Carbon emissions of the average van sold in Europe fell 3.8% in 2013 to 173g/km, according to official figures published today by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). This means that Europe’s vans achieved their 2017 target of 175g/km four years ahead of schedule – the result of an extremely weak and unambitious target set in 2010 and confirmed by MEPs in 2013.