Environmental Group Slams EC’s Leaked Draft Biofuel Plan

European flags in front of the Berlaymont building headquarters of the European commission in Brussels.


The European Commission’s (EC) leaked draft proposal to continue supporting first-generation biofuels until 2030 will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from European transport over the period 2021-2030 by an amount equivalent to the emissions from the Netherlands in 2014, according to environmental campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).

These are extra emissions from using these biofuels instead of regular diesel and petrol, according to the group.

The draft proposal would also make EU transport’s GHG emissions look 478 million tonnes lower than they actually are over the period 2021-2030, compared with a phase-out of first-generation biodiesel in 2025 and first-generation bioethanol in 2030, the organisation said.

In a statement, it said: “This is because biofuels count as zero-emissions fuel in the draft proposal. The extra emissions and the ‘hot air’ that the loophole would introduce is equivalent to the total emissions of France in 2014.”

Annex X of the leaked Renewable Energy Directive states the Commission’s intention to continue promoting land-based biofuels and have them account for 3.8% of transport fuels in 2030.

This is a mere 1.1% reduction from the 4.9% biofuels share in transport achieved already in 2014, and almost a contradiction of the Commission’s own Strategy for Low Emission Mobility that promised phase-out of food-based biofuels in July.

Jori Sihvonen, biofuels officer at Transport & Environment (T&E), said: “Just four months after promising a phase-out of food-based biofuels, the European Commission proposes to still have them supply 3.8% of Europe’s transport energy in 2030.

“This is not a phase-out. It is business as usual, allowing the transport sector to pretend it is cleaning up on paper, while increasing its emissions on the road. Where have we seen this before?”

Biofuels International understands that the European Commission is set to include the following plans in RED II:

  • Existing renewables mandates to be carried over past 2020
  • Food and feed crop-based biofuels to be phased out starting 2021
  • Sub-mandate for advanced biofuels to be phased in simultaneously
  • Tracing and transaction systems to be interlinked between Member States

The Renewable Energy Directive is due to come out on 30th November.

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