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.
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.
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.
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.
The EU is entering in the final round of negotiations on the REDII. One of the outstanding issues to be agreed between EU Parliament, the Council and Commission is palm oil biodiesel. In January 2018 the Parliament voted in favor of phasing out support to biodiesel based on palm oil as of 2021, which is a step in the right direction. However, this decision is being contested by the Council and also by the palm oil-producing countries - especially Malaysia and Indonesia.
With drivers ditching their diesel cars in view of an increasing number of city bans and low-emissions zones in Western Europe, many of these dirty cars now end up in Central & Eastern EU Member States. This means the air quality problems will be exported, not solved, thus deepening the East-West divide that already exists on air quality in Europe. Bulgaria is case in point. This briefing details the impact of dirty diesels heading east to Bulgaria.
In 2018 the EU will develop a budget for the 2021-2027 period. The current budget earmarks €100 billion for investment in transport infrastructure, as well as research and innovation. Nevertheless, emissions continue to rise from the sector and represent 27% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Spending should prioritise addressing this worrying trend, investing in infrastructure that helps reduce such emissions. Furthermore, the most polluting means of transport could become new own resources for the EU budget, which would help to reduce emissions and fill the EU budget gap that will be left after the UK exits the EU. Read more in our responses to the European Commission’s open consultations on the EU budget.
Since the creation of the European Single Aviation Market, the UK and its airlines have greatly benefited for decades from full access to the European market. This access will cease to exist on 29 March 2019 in the absence of an agreement. Given the current state of Brexit negotiations, the possibility of not reaching a future deal on the aviation relationship would greatly harm the industry, consumers and, particularly, the environment.
Joint letter sent by Aarhus, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Brussels, Communauté d'Agglomération de La Rochelle, Copenhagen, Dublin, Groningen, London, Münster, Paris, Poznan, Rotterdam, Sofia, Trnava and Vienna to Commission President Juncker urging him to prioritise road safety by mandating a direct vision standard for trucks as soon as possible.
At the meeting of the ITRE Committee on 28th November, MEPs will be voting on the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED, 2016/0382/COD). In the letter here below, the main environmental NGOs in Brussels express their concern about the adoption of a new target for crop based biofuels, in the form of a new target for renewable energy in transport.