Decarbonising transport must take centre stage in Europe’s efforts to meet historic COP21 ambitions

Brussels, Today – On 12 December, 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and strengthen global action to fight climate change.

The Paris Agreement includes an objective to limit global warming to “well below 2C above preindustrial levels” and “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C. The European

Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) welcomes the COP21 agreement and calls on the EU to make decarbonising its transport sector a key priority of its actions to meet the COP21 ambitions.

Europe’s transport emissions have increased by 36% from 1990 levels and now account for 26% of Europe’s total GHG emissions – Europe’s second biggest source of GHG emissions. Unless European policymakers take decisive and immediate action to decarbonise Europe’s transport sector, there is little hope Europe will achieve the level of GHG reductions needed to meet the COP21 climate ambitions. According to the IPCC, Europe’s transport’s growing emissions could be cut substantially through ‘aggressive and sustained’ policy measures, including reducing the carbon intensity of fuels by substituting oil-based products with biofuels.

The EU-wide roll-out of E10 – a petrol-ethanol fuel blend containing up to 10% ethanol which is widely sold in France, Germany and Finland – would reduce Europe’s transport emissions by 15 million tonnes, the equivalent to the annual emissions from 9 million cars or 4% of Europe’s total car fleet. Because ethanol can be blended with petrol, and used in existing petrol engines, it is a technology that will allow Europe to decarbonise its current vehicle fleet without needing to replace existing vehicles and fuel infrastructure.

In order to maximise this potential, energy taxation in the EU needs to be changed. European renewable ethanol, with around 60% savings compared to petrol, is currently the most heavily taxed of all transport fuels used in Europe despite it being the most available and feasible solution needed to help Europe achieve its climate objectives. Taxing fuels based on their CO2 emissions and energy content is a fairer approach that would incentivise the increased use of low carbon alternatives, including ethanol.

“We welcome the ambitious agreement at COP21 – but now Europe needs to match its ambitious climate  rhetoric with concrete policy actions. Tackling its transport emissions is a first step. Increasing the use of ethanol fuel in transport, through the wide introduction of E10 fuel blend, is a realistic and practical step European countries can make to immediately reduce Europe’s transport emissions”
– Robert Wright, Secretary-General of the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE). –

Read other news