Europe has taken one step forward and one step back in the fight against global climate change today according to three leading environmental groups. BirdLife International, the European Environment Bureau (EEB) and Transport and Environment (T&E) have welcomed EU plans to introduce carbon reduction targets for transport fuels but slammed the failure to announce a legally-binding target for car fuel-efficiency following high-level intervention by the German car industry last week.
The European Union has proposed to almost double the proportion of biofuels used in transport but has no idea how much this will actually reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Meanwhile Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday announced an innovative plan to cut CO2 emissions from the production and use of all fuels used for cars by 10% in the state of California.
The head of Volkswagen has criticised tax concessions for biofuels, at the same time as a new report from the banking sector casts doubt on the sustainability of such fuels and the EU’s current targets for increasing the use of biofuels in transport.
The European Commission should urgently set up a system of safeguards and a certification process to ensure biofuels used in Europe meet high environmental standards according to three environmental groups.
The EU should aim to reduce overall fuel consumption by transport rather than promoting specific targets for use of biofuels according to T&E's response to a recent EU consultation on biofuels.
The increased use of biofuels could be disastrous for biodiversity and create more environmental problems than they solve, if sustainability safeguards are not added to EU policy.
Petrol and diesel still have too much sulphur, according to Commission data.
On the eve of a key meeting of European energy ministers to discuss the EU’s biofuels strategy, three of Europe’s leading environmental organisations have warned that EU policies promoting biofuels may cause more environmental damage than the conventional fuels they are designed to replace if important environmental safeguards are not put in place.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views on progress made since the Biofuels directive was adopted in 2003. The consultation will inform the Commission's progress report which will form the basis of a revised directive. To find out more, see the Commission website.
A high profile one-day conference on 7 June 2006, organised by BirdLife International, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), and the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E).