EU governments and MEPs are under pressure to consider phasing out the use of vegetable oils for biofuels by as early as 2020 after the European Parliament backed the move in a non-binding resolution this week. The Council and Parliament are currently drafting their common positions on reform of the Renewable Energy Directive, which will decide Europe’s biofuels policy up to 2030.
The European Parliament today urged the European Commission to phase out the use of vegetable oils for biofuels, preferably by 2020. Groups across the political spectrum supported the resolution calling for an end to incentives for biofuels that cause deforestation and peatland drainage, such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed. The resolution, on an own-initiative report on palm oil and deforestation, was adopted by a large majority and sends a clear signal that the parliament wants a quick phase-out of crop-based biofuel in the proposed new Renewable Energy Directive (RED).
Transport and Environment, Birdlife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau requested CE Delft to determine the most cost-effective optimal renewable energy mix for the 28 EU member states and, specifically, for Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Poland and the UK, taking into account social discount rates and the most recent cost developments.
The European Commission is overestimating the share of renewable energy that will be filled by bioenergy in 2030 while underestimating a significant drop in the cost of renewables such as wind and solar energy, a new independent study has found. As the Commission used old data, higher ambition on renewables appears to be more expensive than it actually is, warned NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Birdlife Europe, which commissioned the study. Unless this is corrected, lawmakers might end up being less ambitious about mandating the uptake of renewable energy or being overly optimistic about mandating the use of bioenergy.
The European Parliament’s transport committee today voted to increase the ambition of the EU’s largest proposed climate law, the Effort Sharing Regulation. The opinion report led by Merja Kyllonen MEP, which was was adopted by 32 votes in favor and 8 against, will feed into the discussion in the main committee, ENVI. The committee’s ambition on issues like the starting point, a longer term emission reduction trajectory and the bi-annual compliance checks was welcomed by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment.
This blog post was originally published on Euractiv.Is it a good idea to fly on an aircraft powered by plant-based fuel? This is one avenue being explored by many in the aviation sector, including the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the industry itself. They see biofuels as a key way, perhaps the biggest way, to cut the sector’s emissions.
As the European Union discusses reform of its Renewable Energy Directive (RED), this position paper and factsheet outline why we need to move ahead to a world without food-based biofuels. In 2015 the share of renewables in transport was 6%, coming mainly from food-based biofuels. Crop-biodiesels are the largest contributor, and they have higher emissions than fossil diesel, hence increasing emissions. Food-based biofuels are not an efficient use of land; solar panels could deliver over 100 times more vehicle kilometre with the same area. The European Commission’s proposal on phasing out biofuels compared to a proper phase-out would lead to CO2 emissions on the scale of Netherlands annual emissions.
Last week European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker presented his plan for the future of Europe. Or, more accurately, he presented different scenarios for what that future could look like. It would be easy to dismiss this as another round of Brussels navel gazing but the truth is this debate matters. Especially to environmentalists.
In a letter to the Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, five green and development organisations - Birdlife, Friends of the Earth, Fern, Oxfam, and T&E - ask the Commissioner to reconsider her position about aviation biofuels. The organisations also make some recommendations on how to start decarbonising the sector.