MEPs of the European Parliament's transport committee today voted in favour of a non-binding opinion supporting the weak Commission proposal on emissions cuts from new cars and vans. The industry committee of the Parliament failed to reach an agreement on their opinion. NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) regrets the votes as the Commission proposal will undermine Europe’s chances to meet Paris climate goals and deteriorate the competitiveness of the auto industry.
The use of palm oil for EU biofuels dwarfs the amount used to make cookies, hazelnut spreads, ice cream, shampoo, lipsticks – and other food and cosmetic products. That’s according to new industry data which shows diesel cars and trucks burned 51% of all the palm oil used in Europe in 2017.
More than half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks. Palm oil used for biodiesel has increased sharply over the last years while food consumption of palm oil is declining.
The European Commission today proposed the EU’s first-ever fuel economy standards for new trucks. The 2025 target of 15% will save truck owners €5,000 in reduced fuel bills every year, strengthen European truckmakers’ competitiveness and cut millions of tonnes of climate-changing emissions. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the proposal but cautions that the Commission’s plan falls short of the ambition demanded by hauliers and businesses and what’s needed to hit the EU’s own climate goals.
European Commissioners are coming under unprecedented pressure to set ambitious truck CO2 emissions standards after a rare alliance of global brands, transport companies and hauliers associations last month demanded that CO2 cuts of 24% by 2025 be targeted. In a letter to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Carrefour, IKEA, Unilever, Heineken, Nestlé, logistics giant Geodis, national transport associations and other big players said the target was necessary if the EU was to remain the leader in the fight against climate change.
The biggest failure of the current car CO2 has been the failure to deliver emissions reductions on the road. Whilst new car CO2 emissions measured using the obsolete laboratory test (NEDC) have fallen by 31% since 2000, on the road the reduction is just, 11%. The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 9 to 42% weakening the regulation, increasing CO2 emissions and raising fuel bills for drivers. The underlying issue was basing the regulation on laboratory tests. Whilst the new WLTP addresses some loopholes, its introduction also creates new flexibilities that the car industry are planning to exploit to undermine both the current regulation to 2020/1 and proposed future regulations for 2025/30.
In response to congestion and high local pollution cities are increasingly using vehicle access restrictions to limit the number of cars on their roads and ensure those which grossly pollute are not allowed in. Following the dieselgate emissions scandal (that exposed the failure of modern diesel vehicles to adequately control toxic fumes when operated on the road), there is a new focus on deploying Low Emission Zones and Diesel Bans. Today there are around 40 million grossly polluting diesel cars and vans on the EU’s roads but national vehicle approval authorities remain reluctant to mandate manufacturers to implement fixes.
As diesel sales slump and those of electric vehicles pass one million, batteries are fast becoming a major part of the EU’s industrial future. It is not just talk this time. Investment is happening: LG Chem is planning for production in Poland and Samsung SDI is doing likewise in Hungary; NorthVolt has just signed a large loan to build a demo plant in Sweden, and Saft, a subsidiary of Total, announced a battery consortium with Siemens, Solvay and MAN. Amidst all this, the environmental benefits of electric cars are under intense scrutiny with news articles on this a regular feature in most EU countries. So, do electric cars reduce car CO2 emissions or do they just shift the problem elsewhere?
Earlier this year, the European Parliament voted on the renewable energy directive (RED). While the outcome was not ideal, we welcomed Parliament’s vote because it caps food-based biofuels, redirects investments into the fuels of the future (electricity, advanced biofuels) and ends support for palm oil biodiesel.
Shifting to zero-emission vehicles in Europe will create jobs and drive economic growth, a major new study released today by Cambridge Econometrics for the European Climate Foundation reveals. The analysis, endorsed by Transport & Environment (T&E) and a host of corporations, including from the motor industry, found that moving away from vehicles powered by oil to ones driven by renewable energy will create 206,000 net additional jobs by 2030.