The European Commision wants 60% of the EU’s key infrastructure fund spent on contributing to climate objectives. It has proposed that the €42 billion Connecting Europe Facility would have €30 billion to co-finance investments in transport, and that funding for electricity transmission, electricity storage, smart grids, renewable energy, rail, and clean urban transport would be considered to be 100% “climate spending”.
Diesel cars and trucks burned more than half (51%) of all the palm oil used in Europe in 2017 - a 13.5% rise in palm biodiesel over the previous year - new data from OILWORLD, the industry reference for vegetable oils markets, released today by T&E shows. Since the introduction of an EU law to promote biofuels in 2009, palm oil used to make biofuel has steadily increased from 825,000 tonnes in 2008 to 3.9 million tonnes in 2017. The use of palm oil for biodiesel dwarfs palm oil use in other products such as cookies, chocolate spreads, shampoo or lipsticks, which combined add up to 39% of total use in 2017 - the lowest point in the past decade.
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.
The Climate Action Regulation (CAR), known previously as the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) will become part of European law in 2018. This paper analyses the different elements agreed in the soon-to-become law, and assesses the role played by different parties involved in the process, with the objective of making public something that normally only a few have access to.
There are growing calls for a green tax shift to the transport sector, which would help fill a gap in the EU’s budget after the UK leaves. A T&E analysis has found new measures such as a carbon tax on motor fuels, aviation kerosene duty, and ending the VAT exemption for flights within and from Europe would raise more than €50 billion annually. And last week, as EU leaders discussed the looming gap, 17 eminent economists rowed in behind the idea, calling it a ‘once in a decade opportunity’ to create a fossil-fuel contribution to the EU budget.
Transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem, representing 27% of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions. If Europe is to meet its climate targets and avoid the severe impacts of climate change, additional action is needed to tackle emissions from the transport sector. Meanwhile, the EU is drafting the post-2020 budget with a proposal expected in May 2018. The annual €10-14 billion gap that will be left as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU has triggered debate on alternative sources of revenue for the EU budget. This position paper outlines how a green tax shift has a key role to play in tackling transport emissions and addressing a gap in the EU's budget post-2020.
The European Parliament has once again voted to limit the support to biofuels made from food crops. If finally adopted, the use of biofuels from crops that could otherwise be used for food – including rapeseed, soy and sunflower – would be capped at 2017 national consumption levels and never higher than 7% of all transport fuels. Currently crop biofuels can be supported to a maximum of 7% of European transport’s energy needs.
Environmental destruction costs human lives too. On 8 December an NGO friend phoned me up with the shocking news that Colombian community leader and land claimant Hernán Bedoya had been assassinated, reportedly by paramilitary groups. It was a tragic reminder that campaigning to stop deforestation is as much about protecting the livelihoods and homes of the communities that have been living in those habitats for centuries as it is about combating climate change and protecting endangered species.
The continued use of high-emitting biofuels to power Europe’s cars and trucks is up for decision in the European Parliament next week. In deciding the Parliament’s position on reform of the Renewable Energy Directive, MEPs will be asked whether European drivers should be obliged to burn massive quantities of food crops in their fuel tanks until 2030.