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Home » European Union (EU), Opinions, Policy, Sustainability

Europe’s Biofuels Debate Needs to Focus on Implementation

Submitted by on July 2, 2015 – 2:34 pmNo Comment

by Robert Wright (ePURE/EurActiv)   As the debate kicks off on transport within Europe’s 2030 climate and energy framework, policymakers and industry must not lose sight of the challenges, says Robert Wright (secretary general of the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE)).

Today, transport is Europe’s second biggest source of GHG emissions, accounting for 26% of total GHG emissions. Our transport sector is simply far too reliant on oil, with 95% of its energy coming from oil products. 64% of Europe’s total oil use is in the transport sector. This is an unsustainable situation that requires urgent attention. European renewable ethanol is a low carbon and renewable fuel alternative, with around 60% GHG savings compared to petrol, and is part of the solution.

Our industry has made a strong contribution to decarbonising European transport and diversifying our energy sources. In 2014, the use of our green transport fuel reduced Europe’s GHG emissions by 5 million tonnes, equivalent to taking 3 million cars off Europe’s roads for 1 year and displaced 4.8% of Europe’s petrol volumes. This shaved €1.5 billion off the EU’s oil bill in the process. Our industry can do more, but we need better policy conditions in member states.

Supply is not constrained as Europe already has enough ethanol production capacity (8.7 billion litres) to provide 83% of the ethanol needed (10.6 billion litres) in a scenario of full penetration of the petrol market by E10.

In its progress report the Commission found that an increase in biofuels consumption to meet the 2020 targets will not detrimentally impact on food prices or availability or land use.

At a time when high-profile public figures such as the Pope, and institutions such as the IMF, are questioning society’s continued oil addiction, European policymakers should take a step back and acknowledge that increasing the share of sustainable biofuels in the transport fuel mix is a necessary step towards reducing our oil addiction and decarbonising Europe’s transport fuels. We must get 2020 right first to pave the way for an ambitious 2030 climate and energy package!     READ MORE

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