A report by two respected climate scientists says the EU’s plans for natural gas as an energy source are incompatible with its commitment to the 2015 Paris climate accord. The report’s authors say Europe has just nine years left to burn fossil fuels at the current rate if global temperatures are to stay below a 2°C increase.
Electrofuels are neither an efficient or a cost-effective solution to decarbonise road transport, a new independent study has found. The study, conducted by consultancy Cerulogy for NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), concludes that e-fuels could supply a limited amount of aviation's growing energy needs but only if the electricity comes from new renewable sources with strict sustainability criteria. T&E said the EU must ensure only e-fuels produced from renewables, such as wind and solar, can be eligible under the advanced fuels target and that it should adopt measures to avoid double counting of renewable electricity under the Renewable Energy Directive.
People who have heard of the renewable energy directive (RED) often associate it with the overall renewables obligation for all sectors - the 20% target until 2020. On Tuesday 28th of November the industry, research and energy committee (ITRE), in charge of the file, will vote on a reform of the RED for the period after 2020. The European Commission proposed an EU target of at least 27% for 2030 and it seems that the ITRE committee will vote on a 35% target, but whether binding at national level or not remains to be seen.
At the meeting of the ITRE Committee on 28th November, MEPs will be voting on the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED, 2016/0382/COD). In the letter here below, the main environmental NGOs in Brussels express their concern about the adoption of a new target for crop based biofuels, in the form of a new target for renewable energy in transport.
Electro or e-fuels (or power to liquid/gas) are electricity-based gaseous or liquid fuels which can be used in internal combustion engines. According to a new report by Cerulogy for T&E, e-fuels only have meaningful climate benefits if strict sustainability criteria are observed throughout the production process. The key factors determining the sustainability of e-fuels are the source of electricity (it must be renewable), the source of CO2 (ideally air capture) as well as impacts on land and water. Download the study below plus T&E's briefing.
T&E has been taking part in the European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel organised by the European Commission’s DG for Research and Innovation, together with representatives from large and small companies, other NGOs, biomass producers, regions and academia. Following constructive discussions, a Manifesto on Bioeconomy has been prepared and signed by most of the participating stakeholders, including T&E. The manifesto, presented to the public on the Bioeconomy Policy Day on 16 November 2017, presents the opportunities and challenges of developing a bioeconomy, as an input to the development of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy.
One of the key areas of debate in the REDII proposal is whether to introduce a national transport target in addition to one for advanced fuels. This briefing shows that the effect of a national transport target is to continue the support for food-based biofuels through the backdoor, going against their phase-out. This will also water down the greenhouse gas savings provided by the advanced fuels. Depending on the target levels and electricity multipliers, the contribution of food-based biofuels could grow, leading to further agricultural land expansion and direct and indirect land use change (ILUC).
The European Parliament could be on course to end state support for biodiesel from vegetable oils in 2030 after a vote in its environment committee. MEPs strongly backed the phase-out of food-based biofuels by 2030 as well as the termination of the use of palm oil biodiesel in the Renewable Energy Directive, as early as 2021.
Rainforests are cleared and burned, people are pushed off their land and endangered species such as the orangutans are dying to allow an expansion in production of palm oil and other food-based biofuels to power our cars.
The negotiations of the new Renewable Energy Directive for 2020-2030 have re-launched the debate on renewable energy in transport, notably on food-based biofuels. The impacts of the EU biofuels policy on climate and environment are poorly informed and understood. This briefing provides a reality check on 10 things that decision makers and citizens do not know about biofuels:1. Four in every five litres of biofuel in the EU is biodiesel2. Around half of EU production of crop biodiesel is based on imports of feedstock, not crops grown by EU farmers3. A third of EU crop biodiesel is made from palm oil, making drivers the top consumers of palm oil in Europe4. EU biodiesel production growth since 2009 has been based on imports and waste oils5. Of all EU rapeseed oil, 60% is consumed in the biodiesel sector6. Palm biodiesel is three times worse for the climate than fossil diesel7. Phasing out palm oil alone is not going to fix the biofuels policy8. The co-production of animal feed cannot justify the support for crop biofuels9. There is an acute lack of transparency about the biofuels used in the EU with data either unavailable or very hard to access10. Most drivers don’t know and are not told they are filling up their car tanks with vegetable oils and other food crops