European Commission urged to take advantage of once-in-a-decade opportunity to reduce damaging transport emissions

Brussels, 11 February 2016 – The European renewable ethanol association (ePURE) has today called on the European Commission to rise to the challenge of decarbonising the transport sector, which is soon to be Europe’s largest single source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In a submission to the public consultation for the new Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), which is being drafted this year and will cover the period 2020-2030, ePURE sets out the case for a binding framework which maximizes the contribution of renewable fuels in decarbonising transport.

Robert Wright, Secretary-General of ePURE says:

“Transport is the only sector whose emissions have gone up not down compared to 1990 levels, seriously undermining the EU objective of reducing total emissions by 40% by 2030.

“Transport won’t decarbonise on its own. If Europe’s future renewables policy is to play any meaningful role in halting damaging global temperature increases, it must include a binding framework promoting the use of low carbon, renewable fuels in transport – in particular, ethanol.

“European renewable ethanol has certified 60% less GHG emissions than petrol and is ready to use today without replacing existing vehicles and infrastructure. E10 (petrol blended with up to 10% ethanol) is already being used widely in France, Finland and Germany, and along with higher ethanol blend like E20 (up to 20% ethanol) is the most efficient and cost-effective solution to decarbonise transport, available both now and up to 2030, when the vast majority of vehicles will still run on internal combustion engines.

“With the new RED being drafted this year, the EU has a second chance to shape the future of Europe’s transport sector and create the policy conditions needed to deliver on the ambitious COP21 agreement.”

ePURE’s position is aligned with that of the European Parliament which has repeatedly called for a framework to decarbonise transport post-2020. ePURE’s submission to the REDII public consultation, which closed yesterday, calls for a binding framework which it recommends could include:

  •  Targets: these are needed to support the use of renewable energy – specifically, decarbonisation targets for transport fuels which fuel suppliers must be obliged to meet. This is all the more pressing given transport is currently dependent on oil for 95% of its fuel and with oil prices expected to remain low beyond 2020, the take-up of renewable fuels will remain static or even decline.
  •  Advanced biofuels: foster the commercial deployment of, by setting a dedicated target for, advanced biofuels. It is clear that the current RED has not sufficiently promoted advanced biofuels. Multipliers are an ineffective measure.
  •  Higher blending limits: the Fuel Quality Directive currently prohibits supply of petrol with anything higher than a 10% ethanol content, preventing the EU’s climate ambitions to be met. Allowing E20 is feasible and beneficial in reducing both CO2 and air pollutants.
  •  Fairer taxation: ethanol is, by energy content, the most heavily taxed transport fuel. Taxes should be based on energy content and carbon footprint so that the petrol-diesel imbalance is addressed and there is a level playing field between fossil and non-fossil fuels.

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