Dear Commissioner Hedegaard,
We write to you to express our deep concerns about the implementation of the article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive. [:]This law obliges fuel suppliers to annually report on the carbon intensity of their fuels and to reduce GHG emissions from transport energy by a legally binding 6% by 2020.
While this law provides a clear signal that the EU is set to decarbonise its transport fuels, the scope of reductions will crucially depend on the implementing measures, which are not due until the end of the year 2010. We understand that the Commission and the Member States are discussing these rules at this moment and wanted to express our views, as the European Parliament has the right of scrutiny.
We agree that setting a greenhouse gas reduction target for transport fuels is the best approach to decarbonising the sector, as it allows fuel suppliers a wide range of reduction options – including stopping gas flaring, using ‘cleaner’ crudes, improving efficiency of refineries and using low-carbon alternative fuels and electricity.
However, we understand that the current draft implementing provisions contain just one default GHG value for petrol and one for diesel, despite the fact that extraction and processing of different crude oil show substantial variations in carbon intensity. In this form, the methodology would remove any incentive to clean up oil extraction and processing methods and will close opportunity for substantial emission cuts.
Furthermore, this approach would take away the safeguard aspect of the Article 7a, as there are currently no provisions to take into account high carbon crude oil, such as tar sands or oil shale. Without a special default value and monitoring rules for very carbon intensive transport fuels, the EU might offset the emissions savings coming from low carbon alternative fuels and other recently adopted climate legislation. In our view this would contradict the whole purpose of the Fuel Quality Directive and Article 7a, in particular.
Let us remind you that the production of tar sands has massive environmental and health impacts. The extraction and refining of tar sand oil is around three times more carbon intensive than conventional oil. Moreover, tar sands extraction causes severe air and water pollution, land use change from destroying natural boreal forests and peatlands, loss of biodiversity and destruction of livelihoods of local communities.
While the imports of tar sands based oil to the EU market may be small at the moment, we are concerned that this might change in the near future due to immense reserves of this dirty source of crude oil in Canada (second only to Saudi Arabia) and in several other countries. For this reason, the EU should send a clear signal now that it is serious about its climate commitment and about the decarbonisation of transport fuels.
We urge you to ensure that the GHG methodology for fossil fuels under the Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive is vastly improved and that effective implementation and monitoring systems are set up to enable actual decarbonisation of transport fuels. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss this issue further.
Satu Hassi, Member of the European Parliament
Corinne Lepage, Member of the European Parliament
Chris Davies, Member of the European Parliament
Linda Mcavan, Member of the European Parliament
Fiona Hall, Member of the European Parliament
Rebecca Harms, Member of the European Parliament
Heidi Hautala, Member of the European Parliament
Sirpa Pietikäinen, Member of the European Parliament
Caroline Lucas, Member of the European Parliament
Åsa Westlund, Member of the European Parliament
Bas Eickhout, Member of the European Parliament
Kriton Arsenis, Member of the European Parliament
Bart Staes, Member of the European Parliament
Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament
Sandrine Bélier, Member of the European Parliament
Yannick Jadot, Member of the European Parliament
Carl Schlyter, Member of the European Parliament