A Major Moment for Ethanol in Europe
by Emmanuel Desplechin (ePURE/Ethanol Producer Magazine) The next few months are sure to be a crucial period for the European ethanol industry, as European Union policymakers grapple with new legislation that could phase out crop-based biofuels after 2020.
The moment is especially important as the EU tries to assert its leadership in the global fight against climate change after the U.S. government’s decision to abandon the Paris Agreement. But even as it touts its continued commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the European Commission is making a strange push with its Renewable Energy Directive II to ensure a dominant place for fossil fuel in the EU’s 2030 transport energy mix.
And some policymakers are waking up to the fact that sustainable biofuels need to remain in the EU’s decarbonization toolkit.
That’s especially true for EU ethanol, which keeps improving its ability to reduce GHG emissions.
The statistics confirm that renewable ethanol plays a crucial role in achieving EU climate ambitions—and is only getting better at it. Instead of pushing to phase out this sustainable European biofuel, the European Commission should be extolling ethanol as a homegrown source of clean-burning transport energy.
Remember: Road transport accounts for 20 percent of EU emissions but is still 95 percent reliant on oil.
Key members of the European Parliament (MEP) clearly realize this. MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee in June adopted an opinion on the European Strategy for Low Emission Mobility, and showed clear support for keeping crop-based biofuels such as renewable ethanol as part of the EU transport energy mix.
In their opinion, MEPs sent a strong signal that Europe should focus on phasing out fossil fuels as well as biofuels that drive deforestation, such as those made with palm oil, but should not sacrifice sustainably produced European biofuels that have high GHG savings and low risk of indirect land use change.
That view is in line with the overwhelming majority of Europeans who, as polls show, believe EU policy should promote biofuels with high GHG savings, like renewable European ethanol. READ MORE