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.
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.
Driving Europe’s transport industry in a more sustainable direction is a formidable challenge, not least because it means a fairly fundamental change in the way fairly large industries do their business. It is in the DNA of these industries to resist change forced upon them by politicians. Carmakers oppose CO2 standards that make them fit clean tech to their cars, the aviation and shipping industries oppose doing their share and of course oil companies fight any kind of change that could end our addiction to their products.
Most European carmakers are on track to meet their CO2 targets by the 2021 deadline, T&E’s 2014 cars and CO2 report has indicated. Five of Europe’s seven major car manufacturing companies will have fleet average emissions of 95 grams of CO2 per km or less if they keep progressing as they have since the introduction of the law in 2008.
EU transport ministers will this week decide whether to approve changing the design rules for lorry cabins which will make them safer and more fuel efficient. Last month, governments reached a provisional agreement on the changes but set a delay of eight years before redesigned lorry cabs can be produced in Europe.
European governments have reached a provisional agreement to amend the EU’s biofuels policy. The deal, struck last week by member states’ ambassadors, would cap the use of food-based biofuels that are eligible to count towards carbon reduction targets at 7% of transport fuel.
Germany has been joined by the Netherlands in enforcement against airlines for breaching EU emissions-trading rules. The Dutch authority is to charge a Chinese airline an administrative fine for failing to submit an annual emissions report for 2012. The same airline also faces a €100 per tonne of CO2 fine for not surrendering carbon allowances, according to a report in ENDS Europe.
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.
A project to create the world’s first ‘sustainable motorway’ has been launched in the Netherlands by two environmental organisations, T&E members Milieudefensie and Natuur & Milieu.