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.
On 28 April 2015, the European Parliament was expected to adopt a final compromise for the reform of EU biofuels policy that would then be endorsed by the Council of the EU. This briefing outlines how, after several years of difficult discussions, this compromise lacks the necessary ambition to tackle properly the issue of indirect land-use change (ILUC). However, it sets some key principles for the phase-out of first-generation biofuels, recognises the problem of ILUC emissions and introduces new measures for other alternatives such as advanced biofuels and renewable electricity. T&E stresses that these elements will need to be captured in the 2030 transport fuels policies.
The use of land-based biofuels as part of EU plans for the decarbonisation of transport will be restricted under a proposal endorsed by the European Parliament’s environment committee today. Transport & Environment cautiously welcomes the decision, which is expected to be approved by the full Parliament later this month, will limit at 7% the use of first-generation biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020.
As many of you know, T&E will mark its 25th anniversary with a celebratory exhibition and debate at Brussels’ Royal Museums of Art & History on 26 March and you are all invited. But now I have the daunting task of writing an editorial worthy of the occasion. How do you summarise 25 years in 700 words? Here we go.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
Plans to develop a Europe-wide road-charging scheme have been unveiled by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bluc. The charging of cars and lorries for road use based on distance driven would be optional, allowing member states to not participate if they did not wish to.