Biodiesel Industry calls for ambitious post 2020 transportation renewable targets

Friday, January 24, 2014

The European Commission has just published its vision and comments on a long-term energy and climate policy. The Communication on “A policy framework for climate and energy policy in the period for 2020 to 2030” suggests a mandatory 40% GHG reduction, 27% binding renewable energy targets and a 25% indicative energy efficiency goals. Regrettably, no transport-focused mandate is set, which represents a missed opportunity to tackle Europe’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB), representing producers of the main alternative to fossil fuels, wishes to highlight the positive effects of biodiesel with regards to preventing climate change and Europe’s energy security. EBB calls for appropriate transportation targets and urges Member States to acknowledge biodiesel’s valuable contribution in green growth.

Transportation is the most polluting sector in Europe, accounting for 25% of total EU CO2 emissions. In addition to environmental concerns, Europe faces an energy security gap, triggered by high dependence on fossil fuels imports and particularly diesel from third countries.

“Transport is at the heart of European economy, yet the Communication published today does not appear to consider the challenges of high energy bill for future growth”, regrets Raffaello Garofalo, EBB Secretary General. “EBB members offer EU – made products, reducing greenhouse gases up to 85% compared to diesel. Europe can make the choice of promoting both European growth and employment by playing a leading role in tackling climate change adverse effects”.

In 2009, European institutions paved the way for fuel’s GHG emission reduction target of 6% by 2020, while fostering reliance on renewable sources in overall transport. “Binding targets have shown to be right in deploying renewable sources. Industry relies on stable long-term policy framework. European institutions and Member States have the responsibility to reinforce sustainable transport with specific targets”, continues Garofalo. If biofuels targets are not confirmed post 2020, investments will already stop as of today. Lack of mandatory goals will immediately result in a catastrophic situation for both conventional and advanced biofuels, as well as for the 200.000 related jobs. This is strongly contradicting the ambitious aims of the Commission for developing investment in improving biofuels: if nothing is changed in the proposal capitals will flee from biofuels, and will especially flee from new expensive biofuels technologies.

As part of the 2009 Energy and Climate Package, EU institutions, Member States and the European Parliament agree on putting particular attention to transport. The Renewable Energy Directive (RED 2009/28) set mandatory 10% use of renewable energy sources by 2020, while the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD 2009/30) requests a 6% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Biofuels account for nearly 220.000 jobs in Europe, proudly supporting Europe’s green economy. In addition to reducing Europe’s imports of fossil fuels and animal feeds, biodiesel’s main by-product, glycerine replaces harmful chemicals in other sectors such as food, pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries.

Thanks to both the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive, biodiesel is expected to account for 8.6% of overall transport consumption by 2020. This policy framework has proven to support investors’ confidence with EU biodiesel production capacity reaching nearly 23 million tonnes to meet the 2020 targets.

“Despite uncertainties surrounding the ILUC debate, biodiesel investors are willing to contribute to sustainable mobility. Specific targets for 2030 would restore investors’ confidence and support the deployment of a sustainable and advanced alternative to diesel. Claiming that first generation biofuels has ‘a limited role in decarbonising the transport’ sector is simply wrong and misguiding. Biofuels are the only sector abiding by strict sustainability criteria. Should the current framework be abandoned, it would simply erase the efforts made by the industry so far”, concludes Garofalo.

About EBB

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) is a non-profit organisation established in January 1997. Today, EBB gathers nearly 80 members across 21 Member-States, which represents 75% of the European output. Biodiesel is the main European solution to reduce emissions from transport and dependence on imported oil. EBB aims to promote the use of biodiesel in the European Union and is committed to fulfill the international sustainability standards with regards to GHG emissions feedstock. EBB is constantly working towards the development of improved and greener technologies.

EBB - European Biodiesel Board