On 28 April 2015, the European Parliament was expected to adopt a final compromise for the reform of EU biofuels policy that would then be endorsed by the Council of the EU. This briefing outlines how, after several years of difficult discussions, this compromise lacks the necessary ambition to tackle properly the issue of indirect land-use change (ILUC). However, it sets some key principles for the phase-out of first-generation biofuels, recognises the problem of ILUC emissions and introduces new measures for other alternatives such as advanced biofuels and renewable electricity. T&E stresses that these elements will need to be captured in the 2030 transport fuels policies.
The use of land-based biofuels as part of EU plans for the decarbonisation of transport will be restricted under a proposal endorsed by the European Parliament’s environment committee today. Transport & Environment cautiously welcomes the decision, which is expected to be approved by the full Parliament later this month, will limit at 7% the use of first-generation biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020.
The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) was first proposed in early 2007 as part of the so-called “integrated approach”, to ensure that the oil industry would also contribute to the fight against climate change. Its implementation has been frequently and quietly delayed until the end of 2014 due to massive amount of lobbying by oil interests.
Speech delivered by Jos Dings, T&E director, at the European Parliament Transport Committee’s hearing on the White Paper on Transport on 17 March 2015.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
Members of the European Parliament's environment committee have backed a 6% limit on land-based biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020. Critics say many of these so-called first-generation biofuels drive up global food prices and emit as much carbon as conventional fossil fuel and even more in some cases.
The new Commission appears to be planning to keep EU rules on fuel quality to encourage greener transport fuels after 2020, following an interview given by the new energy commissioner Maroš Šefčovič.