Transport, oil and biofuels

As the era of easily accessible oil comes to an end, the world is approaching an energy crossroads. The EU could get ahead by driving efficiency and investing in technologies, such as electric vehicles, to get us beyond oil. Or it could continue relying on increasing amounts of fossil fuels that are getting ever more dirty, dangerous and expensive to extract. 

Greenpeace activists drive a Flintstones-style car to the European Parliament. The stone age stunt was a reminder that the car industry is trapped in a 'dinosaur dynamic' of building ever-faster and increasingly powerful gas-guzzlers at the expense of the climate.

 

 

EU fuel efficiency standards

Transport accounts for about 60 percent of EU oil consumption, half of which goes into cars and vans. Fuel efficiency regulation drives innovation to benefit consumers and spur technological leadership, while bringing down oil demand. The EU has set standards for cars for 2015 and 2020 and for vans for 2017 and 2020. A review of both standards will take place before 2013 with new European Commission proposals. Greenpeace wants to see a 2025 standard of 60 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre for cars. In the past, carmakers have resisted such standards, even though history shows they are capable of great strides. Greenpeace is working to persuade regressive car companies like VW to live up to their rhetoric and support ambitious standards. 

Fuel Quality Directive

Published in 2008, the Fuel Quality Directive sets a carbon reduction target of 6 percent by2020 for transport fuels sold in Europe. The devil is in the detail though and Greenpeace is working to ensure that implementation arrangements fulfil the aim of the directive. The Canadian government wants the EU to consider fuels made from tar sands the same as normal fuel, even though the European Commission’s own research by Stanford University shows it to be 23 percent more carbon polluting. The EU’s biggest ever trade deal hangs in the balance.

Biofuels

There are good and bad biofuels. Ones that are good for the environment have a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional fuel without harmful side effects such as intensification of unsustainable agriculture, increase of water usage and pollution, or land-grabbing and land rights conflicts in developing countries. Preferably, they are made ​​from genuine waste products and do not require land to produce. Bad biofuels damage the environment and put more carbon into the atmosphere. The EU’s renewable energy policies are a major driver of growth for harmful biofuels, which shows no sign of slowing. The EU has introduced sustainability requirements, but important issues like agricultural practices, bio-safety, water and soil quality and food security are not covered. They also ignore the indirect land use change (ILUC) effect of biofuels, a major problem. According to the European Commission's internal assessment, biodiesels from crops such as rapeseed, soy and palm oil have a higher carbon footprint than conventional fuels when emissions from ILUC are included. Legislation is the best and only reasonable way to prevent ILUC. Yet the Commission continues to delay legislation, protecting the entrenched interests of some producers who want to maintain access to large public subsidies although their contribution to climate change mitigation is nil or negligible.

The latest updates

 

Environment Council in advance - GMOs, Climate and Biodiversity

Publication | March 7, 2006 at 0:00

Media briefing in advance of Environment Council, 9 March 2006. Background to key agenda items on GMOs, biodiversity and climate change.

Greener Paper on Energy

Publication | March 3, 2006 at 0:00

Briefing: a 'Greener Paper' on Energy. New vision for a truly sustainable, competitive and secure energy future - a comment on the EU Commission's draft Green Paper on Energy presented on 8 of March 2006.

Joint NGO letter on Energy Green Paper

Publication | February 27, 2006 at 0:00

Joint NGO letter to EU Commissioners on the Energy Green Paper

Europe needs a target for clean energy

Publication | June 13, 2005 at 0:00

This report presents Greenpeace views on how the EU can guarantee a clean energy revolution in Europe, which will be a fundamental contribution in the global fight against climate change.

Open Letter to Mr Juncker

Publication | March 21, 2005 at 0:00

OPen letter to Luxembourg prime minister, on "Tackling climate change and fulfilling the Lisbon strategy: a ‘win-win’ opportunity"

Solar Generation II

Publication | January 18, 2005 at 0:00

This report demonstrates that there are no technical, economic or resource barriers to supplying 1.1% of the world’s electricity needs from solar power alone by 2020; and this against the challenging backdrop of a projected near doubling of...

Letter To Commission On Renewables Communication 2

Publication | May 11, 2004 at 0:00

New comments by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF on the Commission's Draft Communication "The share of renewable energy in the EU"

Letter To Commission On Renewables Communication

Publication | April 21, 2004 at 0:00

Comments by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF on the Commission's Draft Communication "The share of renewable energy in the EU"(version of 30th March 2004)

Comments on British Energy PLC

Publication | April 1, 2004 at 0:00

"Restructuring aid in favour of British Energy PLC (“BE”)" - Comments submitted on behalf of Greenpeace UK Limited.

Wind Force 12

Publication | May 1, 2003 at 0:00

The aim of this study is to assess whether it is feasible for wind power to achieve a penetration equal to 12% of global electricity demand by 2020. In the process, a number of technical, economic and resource implications have had to be...

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