This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
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.
This new study by Christian Berggren and Per Kågeson for T&E provides a comprehensive study of benefits and challenges for Europe to electrify its vehicle fleet.
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.
The EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
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.
This report assesses how the EU and Nordic countries could achieve zero GHG road freight and buses by 2050. The report analysed “off the shelf” technologies and strategies (defined as low hanging fruit), such as improving fuel efficiency in diesel trucks or moving more freight into railways. In addition, it also assessed how we could move beyond “low hanging fruit” and fully decarbonise the road freight sector. For this we looked at technologies such as catenary-hybrid, battery electric, hydrogen and power to liquid. All of this information was fed into T&E’s in-house transport model.
In November 2016 the Commission presented its new proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive in the 2021-2030 period. The main elements of the proposal on transport are to reduce the cap on food and feed-based biofuels to 3.8% in 2030 and to establish a mandate on fuel suppliers, requiring them to blend 6.8% of advanced fuels by 2030 (T&E’s position on biofuels in the RED can be found here).
Sustainable advanced biofuels can provide significant savings of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) compared to fossil fuels, without using productive agricultural land. The European Commission’s proposal on the Renewable Energy Directive II sets a specific sub-target for advanced biofuels. This briefing is an attempt to suggest a more realistic and sustainable target level for advanced biofuels in the new Renewable Energy Directive.