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The European Parliament just avoided a biofuels fail. Now here’s how to move forward on decarbonising transport


17 Jan 2018


Climate & Environment

2030 EU target for renewables in transport leaves an opening for sustainable crop-based biofuels to help reach Paris goals


BRUSSELS, 17 January 2018 – The European Parliament’s vote to phase out palm oil and allow some crop-based biofuels is a welcome recognition that the EU needs all the sustainable tools it can get in the fight against climate change.

By agreeing to a 12% target for renewables in transport, MEPs have left room in the EU energy mix for sustainable biofuels to replace fossil fuels. But to assure its place as the global leader on climate issues, the EU still needs to do more. It needs a renewable energy policy that looks beyond labels like “conventional” or “advanced” and instead to the real sustainability credentials of biofuels. European renewable ethanol – produced from European crops, delivers 66% average greenhouse gas reductions over fossil petrol with no adverse effects. Its production helps offset Europe’s need to import high-protein animal feed.

“Europeans deserve a climate policy that lives up to the promises made by politicians,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association. “The Parliament has sent a message that not all biofuels are created equal by focusing on getting rid of those that drive deforestation like palm oil. But its amendments still risk making it harder for EU Member States to realistically boost renewables in transport.”

“As the main EU institutions begin negotiations on renewables policy for the post-2020 period, the EU must remain committed to a meaningful binding target for renewables in transport – one that does not rely on artificial multipliers to create the illusion of better performance and make it easier for countries to meet their targets,” Desplechin said. “It should also keep in place the maximum contribution of crop-based biofuels at 7% – essential for safeguarding current and future investments. And it needs a strong commitment to ramping up advanced biofuels.”

“The EU can still make this legislation work. By empowering Member States to use homegrown solutions for renewable energy, Europe can truly deliver on its Paris commitments.”