Fixing Europe’s clean fuels policy

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.

biofuels red target

The solution to decrease emissions from transport fuels is moving towards electrification and modestly advanced biofuels. At the moment electricity is the cleanest fuel available for the transport sectors, and is a scalable solution. Advanced biofuels can also play a long-term role in decarbonising the transport sector, if sustainability is ensured from the beginning, but their level of contribution is limited as the availability of sustainable wastes and residues is limited.