• Decision on dirty fuels law to be taken by Environment Ministers

    A key meeting on the future of the EU’s plan to cut carbon emissions from transport fuel production reached no agreement today.   A decision on carbon emissions values for highly polluting sources of fuel such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid will now be taken by Environment Ministers in the Summer.

    Nusa Urbancic of Transport & Environment said: “It’s good to see this decision being brought out into the open.  The behind-closed-doors process for implementing the law has enabled vested interests, particularly countries and oil companies with major tar sand investments, to hold up progress. It’s now time for every EU country to show its hand: do you want a cleaner transport energy future or not?

    The EU’s Fuel Quality Directive, agreed in 2008-9, for the first time obliges suppliers of transport fuel in Europe to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the extraction and production of transport fuel by 6% by 2020.  Fuels that are very intensive to produce such as oil from tar sands, coal-to-liquid or crude oil that involves lots of gas flaring during extraction, would have to clean up or risk being effectively excluded from the EU market.

    An October 2011 proposal from the European Commission to actually implement the law in practice, established a set of default values for the carbon intensity of various fuel sources.  Producers who believe they have a cleaner process are entitled to ask for a lower emissions value.  Canada disputes the values attributed to tar sands, but has failed to offer robust scientific evidence that its production process is cleaner than the proposed default values.

    The meeting today of national government civil servants voted on whether or not to approve the October 2011 proposal. As they reached no majority for or against the proposal, the decision will now be passed up to Environment Ministers.