Policies to promote food based biofuels do lead to increases in food prices, an extensive independent literature review has concluded. The analysis considered over one hundred economic modelling studies of the potential impact on prices of increased biofuel demand and over two dozen assessments of the role biofuels demand played in the 2006-08 food price crisis.
Flights to and from Europe have been automatically re-included in EU ETS since the start of 2017. In February the Commission proposed, in response to development at ICAO, to once more exempt these flights, this time indefinitely. The environment committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament adopted its report on this file in July, and the full Parliament will vote on it on September 13th.
Today heavy duty vehicles account for around 30% of EU road transport CO2, but as cars decarbonise, this is expected to reach about 40%. The Commission proposal on monitoring and reporting (MR) of truck CO2 emissions and fuel consumption seeks to collect certain truck data and make it available (with restrictions) to the Commission and stakeholders. The MR regulation will support the implementation of truck CO2 standards – a Commission proposal is due in early 2018.
The average car sits unused for more than 90% of the time, carries on average just one and a half people and costs, on average, €6,500 a year to own and run. Each car occupies 150m2 of urban land and still this is not the full bill – congestion costs the EU economy €100 billion annually. The convenience that made the car a 20th century icon has been eroded by its popularity.
The Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) defines the carbon budget for EU member states for the non-traded sectors (surface transport, buildings, agriculture, small industry and waste) until 2030. If the ESR’s headline goal of -30% compared to 2005 is undermined through loopholes, the ESR will not lead to real-world emission reductions in those sectors. This FAQ is aimed at bringing clarity to one element being discussed during the negotiations: the ESR Safety/Early Action Reserve.
This briefing outlines how, more than a year since the VW scandal broke and almost a year since the new reform of EU testing system was proposed, there is minimal progress to tackle the legacy of dirty diesel cars on the road. No action whatsoever has been taken to reduce the emissions of 80% of the most grossly emitting diesel cars. Out of the 20% of cars subject to some recalls. The briefing also outlines how the latest leaked documents reveal that the majority of member states are also trying to block and weaken any future reform on the newly proposed Type Approval Framework Regulation, stripping the Commission of any powers to do independent checks on in-use vehicles.
The use of palm oil for biodiesel has been increasing in the EU - 3.35 Million tonnes of it was used in 2015. Currently 46% of palm oil imported to the EU is used for biodiesel, requiring around 1 million hectares of tropical land. The three largest producers of palm oil biodiesel are Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, accounting for 80% of production. Italy and Spain are also large users, while the Netherlands exports most of its palm biodiesel. The three countries consume 38% of what they produce, while the remaining 62% is used in the rest of the EU member states - thus making palm oil use a European issue.
European heads of state have agreed that in 2030, 27% of Europe’s energy should come from renewable sources. Not all renewables are sustainable though; for instance, food-based biofuels as well as burning whole trees imported from the US in EU power plants has come in for a lot of criticism.
Aviation is a substantial and growing driver of climate change, currently responsible for almost 5% of global warming. The objectives of the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved without action to rein in its emissions growth. This T&E briefing outlines how, at its triennial assembly, ICAO has an opportunity to adopt a global market-based measure which can be a starting point for greater global ambition. However, negotiations dominated by the need to protect industry and favour historic emitters is weakening the prospect of a credible deal.
The negotiations of the new Renewable Energy Directive for 2020-2030 have re-launched the debate on renewable energy in transport, notably on food-based biofuels. The impacts of the EU biofuels policy on climate and environment are poorly informed and understood. This briefing provides a reality check on 10 things that decision makers and citizens do not know about biofuels:1. Four in every five litres of biofuel in the EU is biodiesel2. Around half of EU production of crop biodiesel is based on imports of feedstock, not crops grown by EU farmers3. A third of EU crop biodiesel is made from palm oil, making drivers the top consumers of palm oil in Europe4. EU biodiesel production growth since 2009 has been based on imports and waste oils5. Of all EU rapeseed oil, 60% is consumed in the biodiesel sector6. Palm biodiesel is three times worse for the climate than fossil diesel7. Phasing out palm oil alone is not going to fix the biofuels policy8. The co-production of animal feed cannot justify the support for crop biofuels9. There is an acute lack of transparency about the biofuels used in the EU with data either unavailable or very hard to access10. Most drivers don’t know and are not told they are filling up their car tanks with vegetable oils and other food crops