New figures show the amount of biofuels being used for transport in the EU rose by 6.1% in 2014, but the increase is less than the fall in transport biofuels registered in 2013. The rise suggests trends are going in the wrong direction as biodiesel takes up the most important part of the increase, though the figures should be treated with caution because there is limited information on the type of feedstocks used to produce these biofuels.
New research has suggested that investing in public and low-emission transport could bring massive financial savings in addition to making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.
NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has criticised the decision by the Irish Government, with Brussels’ backing, to grant €42.5 million to a number of small regional airports, a decision which will see public money propping up underutilised airports with questionable socioeconomic benefits. These public resources could have been better invested in developing a sustainable transport network in Ireland, T&E argues.
A report in the Netherlands has highlighted the need for greater transparency on the origin and carbon footprint of biofuels if they are to play a role in a more sustainable transport fuels market.
The European Parliament’s trade committee today decided that Europe’s national courts cannot be trusted with safeguarding the rights of international investors when it called for private arbitration to be retained in the EU-US trade deal. MEPs voted for the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause (ISDS) – though repackaged under a different name for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ISDS allows foreign investors to directly sue governments in private arbitration panels, with potential awards paid by taxpayers.
April 2015 will enter history as the month in which the EU reversed course on its energy policies in transport. It adopted its long-mooted reform of biofuels policy – especially regarding indirect land-use change (ILUC). The practical implications in the next years may not be so big. But the political and longer-term ones are.
The European Parliament has given its final approval to a law capping the use of land-based biofuels in transport. The reform, which aims to be a check on the growing consumption of biofuels that increase carbon emissions compared to conventional diesel and petrol due to ILUC emissions, has been passed after seven years of public debate and tense negotiations between the European Commission, MEPs and EU member states.
A win-win situation in which motorists could save up to 23% of the cost of owning an electric car and the carbon impact of e-vehicles could be reduced is possible through smart charging.
European Governments are increasingly relying on bioenergy as a cheap way to meet targets for renewable energy. Bioenergy represented 62% of EU’s renewable energy use in 2012. But new evidence on the real climate impacts and other environmental and social impacts of bioenergy has made its use increasingly controversial.