The environment committee of the European Parliament today adopted a resolution urging the European Commission to phase out the use of vegetable oils for biofuels, preferably by 2020. All political groups agreed on the need to stop incentives to biofuels that cause deforestation and peatland drainage, which includes a range of feedstocks such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed, The resolution was on an own-initiative report on palm oil and deforestation.
The Board of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has today announced William Todts as its new Executive Director. He succeeds Jos Dings, who this week leaves the position after 13 years.
A study by the respected Öko-Institut in Germany says Europe needs to slash its transport emissions by 94% by 2050. That's what it takes to avoid catastrophic 2 degree warming. Meanwhile, EU governments – particularly Italy and Poland – are trying to destroy the already inadequate target of -30% by 2030.
Average gap between real-world fuel consumption and lab results for Mercedes cars is a whopping 54%, with the Mercedes A and E class reaching an inexplicable 56%. Industry wide, the gap becomes a 42% abyss, up from 28% only three years ago. Deceptive fuel consumption figures costs the typical driver in Europe around €549 a year in additional fuel bills compared to the official claims.
Despite all the glaring evidence proving that palm-oil biodiesel is three times more polluting than fossil diesel, European transport still keeps burning more and more palm oil to power its diesel cars and trucks. 2015 data from OILWORLD, industry's reference for vegetable oils market analysis, shows a 3% increase in the use of palm oil for biodiesel. European biodiesel is now the main end product of imported palm oil, reaching an all-time-high share of 46%. This makes drivers the leading (albeit unaware) consumers of palm oil in Europe.
The widely-held assumption that little can be done to lower agriculture's climate emissions is being challenged by a new independent study. As MEPs debate expanding the use of controversial forestry credits and other loopholes to help sectors such as agriculture and transport meet their climate targets, the Institute for European Environmental Policy says there is significant untapped potential to reduce farming’s impact.
A joint plenary letter, on behalf of POLIS, HEAL, EEB, ClientEarth and Transport & Environment, calling for the establishment of an independent EU authority to check vehicles as part of the Type Approval reform.
The role of Southern and Mediterranean European countries in these processes is important, as they have the power to weigh in favour of ambitious reforms. Facing similar climate challenges at the national level, they can also set an example by promoting innovative and progressive practices that can inform European policy processes, and especially the ESR.