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BRUSSELS, Belgium The European Commission has proposed new standards for transport fuels that it hopes will reduce their contribution to climate change and air pollution.
It hopes that the proposed standards will make the fuels cleaner and allow the introduction of vehicles and machinery that pollute less.
Under the plan suppliers will have to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, transport and use of their fuels by 10% between 2011 and 2020.
This will cut emissions by 500 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2020 - equivalent to the total combined emissions of Spain and Sweden today, said the E.C.
A new petrol blend will be established that allows higher content of the biofuel ethanol, and sulphur levels in diesel and gasoil. This will reduce emissions of dangerous dust particles, according to the Commission.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "This is one of the most important measures in the series of new initiatives the Commission needs to take to step up the fight against global climate change."
"These proposals will also help achieve a significant reduction in the noxious pollutants from transport that can harm our citizens' health, as well as opening the way for a major expansion in the use of biofuels, especially second generation biofuels," he continued.
Mr. Stavros announced the new fuel measures after giving a speech to the European Parliament during which he urged the European Council and Members of European Parliament to back the Commissions new strategy to accelerate the reduction in greenhouse emissions and drive a renewed global effort.
Earlier this month the Commission proposed that developed countries, including the European Union, take on an average 30% emission reduction target by 2020, compared with 1990 levels.