Nobel laureates join calls for climate action

3 October 2013

Today twenty-one Nobel Prize winners backed calls from Friends of the Earth Europe for the immediate implementation of the EU Fuel Quality Directive.

The Nobel laureates sent a letter to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Union environment ministers calling for stronger action to help tackle climate change by accurately labelling transport fuels according their climate impacts.

The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) is a vital piece of EU climate legislation that sets a target of a 6% reduction in carbon intensity from transport fuels used in Europe by 2020. Its implementation has been strongly opposed by both the fossil fuel industry and the Canadian government.

The letter states "Fully implementing the EU's Fuel Quality Directive will send a clear signal that the European Union is committed to action that supports the rights of future generations to a healthy planet."

The letter also highlights the European Commission's own research showing that unconventional fuel sources identified in the proposed policy such as tar sands produce an average of 23% more greenhouse gas emissions than average conventional oil.

Tar sands oil is the most devastating fuel in commercial production today creating pollution and deforestation which cause irreversible ecological damage, killing wildlife and threatening indigenous communities.

Darek Urbaniak, extractive industries campaigner from Friends of the Earth Europe said "President Barroso spoke passionately in his recent State of the Union address about those who care for Europe speaking up for Europe. He said if Europe doesn't act then we can't expect others to either. Yet these words are meaningless when in private he is obstructing such important climate action for Europe and world. He must urgently show his leadership and move forward the fuel quality directive now. "

The laureates who signed the letter include two members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nine other science laureates, and ten winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.