Last July, the European Commission’s Strategy for Low Emission Mobility promised a ‘phaseout of food-based biofuels’. However, this promise of a phase-out is not visible in Annex X of a leaked draft proposal of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The leak points to the Commission’s intention to keep 3.8% of 1G biofuels in transport fuels in 2030. This is only 1.1 percentage point less than the 4.9% share of 1G biofuels in transport in 2014. In this briefing T&E analyses: how much would the Commission’s draft proposal increase EU transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the 2021-2030 period compared to a ‘proper’ phase-out of 1G biofuels?; how much underestimation of EU transport GHG emissions in the 2021-2030 period would the draft proposal lead to – as a result of the zero-counting of biofuels – compared to a ‘proper’ phase-out of 1G fuels?
Last week’s deal reached at ICAO, the UN agency, to establish a global offsetting programme for aviation received a mixed response, yet it was heralded by industry and some policymakers as the dawn of sustainable aviation.
This report, released on the first anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal, exposes the shocking number of dirty diesel cars on the EU’s roads and the feeble regulation of cars by national authorities that have focused on protecting their own commercial interests or those of domestic carmakers. In the US, following the disclosure that VW had cheated emissions tests, justice has been swiftly and effectively delivered. This is in stark contrast to Europe where VW claims it has not acted illegally, no penalties have been levied and no compensation has been provided to customers.
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament will vote next week on noise limits for vehicles. The compromise proposal put forward by the lead MEP has been drafted by sports car manufacturer Porsche.
The citizens-led campaign to reduce air pollution in Milan has spread to Rome, with the NGO behind the ‘NO2 – no thanks’ campaign publishing figures on dangerous air quality in the Italian capital, as well as more detailed information about Milan. The figures focus on the health impacts, but in Rome they also highlight the increased threat of erosion to some of the city’s greatest monuments, including the Colosseum.
“As expected” mumbled Commission president Juncker when an aide passed him a note saying Trump had decided to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium. The American administration had been playing with the Europeans for nearly two months but threats of retaliation, offers of new trade deals (TTIP light), and a grand visit from the French president had done nothing to dissuade US president Donald Trump.
Six EU countries are being taken to court for failing to tackle repeated breaches of air quality limits. T&E said the legal action by the European Commission is a long-overdue and welcome step. Germany, France and the UK face penalties for years of allowing breaches of limits on toxic NO2 emissions while Italy, Romania and Hungary failed to tackle harmful and illegal levels of particulates (PM10). Spain, however, has got away with a warning.
The EU’s first-ever fuel economy standards for new trucks will target a 15% CO2 emissions reductions by 2025, the European Commission has proposed. T&E welcomed the draft law, which will save truck owners €5,000 in reduced fuel bills every year, but added that it falls short of the ambition demanded by hauliers and businesses and what’s needed to hit the EU’s own climate goals.
The environmental impact of a global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation is coming under renewed scrutiny after 12 European states told the UN aviation agency they will consider pulling out if safeguards are weakened any further. Countries meeting at ICAO later this month are set to finalise the rules governing the use of offsets and alternative fuels allowed under the scheme, known as CORSIA, which is supposed to cap net aircraft emissions at 2020 levels.