Can Europe fall in love with biofuels again? This was the question a big biofuels producer asked in his Valentine’s letter to EU policy makers. The occasion for his love letter was, of course, the European Commission’s proposed reform of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which regulates biofuels in Europe.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this last editorial for the T&E Bulletin, having led this wonderful organisation since 2004. The obvious question to ask now is ‘Have we made a difference?’
After many false dawns the electric car is finally on a trajectory to replace the internal combustion engine.
Electric vehicles are becoming more and more competitive, mainly because battery prices have fallen 65% since 2010 and are forecasted to fall to $230 per kWh in 2017-2018. Batteries are also becoming more powerful as they gain in energy density. Moreover, these improvements were recently reinforced by other significant developments: the unveiling by Tesla of its Model 3 is making high-spec electric cars more accessible; and the Netherlands, Norway and Germany’s public support for the rollout of electric vehicles.
The idea of an electric vehicle (EV) sales quota is gaining momentum. Recently the Netherlands' parliament voted to make 100 per cent of new car sales emissions-free by 2025. Dutch MPs also told the government to make this possible through EU policy - most likely in the form of an EV sales quota for carmakers as part of the next round of car CO2 standards.
What have been the two sustainable mobility revolutions of the past decade? Of course, that is an impossible question. I am sure that if you asked 10 different people you would get 10 different answers.
The EU took some small but welcome steps towards reforming its biofuels policy on 13 June when the council of energy ministers agreed a position. Clearly the content of this agreement - food-based biofuels capped at seven per cent of petrol and diesel sold, and weak national targets for advanced biofuels - is far from satisfactory as it is still fails to differentiate among the various types of biofuels and reward those with better environmental performance.
This article was first published in Parliament Magazine on 13 June 2014The Ukraine crisis highlights the urgent need to rethink Europe’s energy use and dependence. Two thirds of EU oil use is in transport, and transport itself is still almost 100 per cent dependent on oil. A third of the EU’s oil comes from Russia, entailing a massive capital transfer of around €100bn a year.
This letter was first published by the Financial Times on February 19 2014.Sir, it is lazy of the Financial Times to brand critics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as “antitrade campaigners” (“No time to waste on transatlantic trade”, editorial, February 17). Two examples should suffice to illustrate that the controversy around TTIP is not so much about trade as about legitimacy and democracy.