Advanced renewable fuels in EU transport

March 31, 2021

This study assesses the feasibility of the European Commission's proposed Climate Target Plan targets for renewable energy in fuels in 2030, focusing specifically on the suggested 24% for renewable energy in transport. The goal is to assess whether this target is realistically feasible, taking into account the expected availability of different sustainable advanced fuels in 2030.

Since its inception, the RED has been criticised for its lack of proper sustainability safeguards regarding bioenergy. Because of a high transport target and major sustainability gaps, it has primarily driven the use of unsustainable crop based biofuels, such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed. Advanced fuels such as advanced biofuels or renewable electricity only have a relatively small share of the overall transport energy.

Higher ambition in renewables for transport does not de facto mean higher quality and sustainability of the fuels, nor to reduce emissions, especially when increased ambition still keeps a major share of crop biofuels. The first renewable transport target was set at 10% in 2020 and increased to 14% (with inbuilt flexibility for member states to decrease it) in the revised RED framework for 2030. As part of its Climate Target Plan (CTP), the European Commission signalled its intention to increase the target for renewables in transport to 24% in 2030. In order to ensure the highest level of sustainability of the fuels framework, it is crucial to scrutinize the type of fuels and assumptions considered to meet such a target.

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