The European Parliament today urged the European Commission to phase out the use of vegetable oils for biofuels, preferably by 2020. Groups across the political spectrum supported the resolution calling for an end to incentives for biofuels that cause deforestation and peatland drainage, such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed. The resolution, on an own-initiative report on palm oil and deforestation, was adopted by a large majority and sends a clear signal that the parliament wants a quick phase-out of crop-based biofuel in the proposed new Renewable Energy Directive (RED).
Transport and Environment, Birdlife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau requested CE Delft to determine the most cost-effective optimal renewable energy mix for the 28 EU member states and, specifically, for Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Poland and the UK, taking into account social discount rates and the most recent cost developments.
The European Commission is overestimating the share of renewable energy that will be filled by bioenergy in 2030 while underestimating a significant drop in the cost of renewables such as wind and solar energy, a new independent study has found. As the Commission used old data, higher ambition on renewables appears to be more expensive than it actually is, warned NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Birdlife Europe, which commissioned the study. Unless this is corrected, lawmakers might end up being less ambitious about mandating the uptake of renewable energy or being overly optimistic about mandating the use of bioenergy.
For the first time more electric and hybrid vehicles are being sold in Norway than petrol and diesel vehicles. The new milestone in the rapid growth of EVs is largely the result of incentives offered by the Norwegian government in a bid to phase out sales of new oil-powered cars by 2025.
The contribution flying makes to climate change is finally starting to slow down plans to expand a number of airports across Europe. Two recent decisions in particular – one in Vienna, the other in London – suggest that commitments to reducing climate changing gases are causing rethinks over the growth of airports.
The German state of Schleswig-Holstein says it will pioneer a 6km stretch of electronic highway by the end of 2018. As part of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of goods being transported by road, it says it will dedicate part of the A1 motorway between Reinfeld and Lübeck to be used by lorries powered by electricity via overhead cables.
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?’
Food-based biofuels can still be counted towards the EU’s renewable energy target, the European Commission has proposed – in a stunning U-turn on its commitment to phase-out first-generation biofuels that are worse for the climate than fossil fuels. Member states will be able to use a maximum 3.8% share of food-based biofuels in transport towards the Renewable Energy Directive’s target for 2030, barely reduced from the current 4.9% market share at EU level.