ePURE: Stronger focus on decarbonizing transport needed

By ePURE | November 18, 2015

Following the adoption of the Energy Union Strategy in February 2015, the European Commission recently published a Communication on the “State of the Energy Union 2015.” While ePURE firmly supports the objectives of Europe’s Energy Union, it calls on the commission to swiftly introduce stronger measures to support Europe’s climate ambitions, particularly in transport.

Ninety-five percent of energy consumed in Europe’s transport sector comes from oil—representing two-thirds of Europe’s total oil use—and unsustainable oil dependency is costing European taxpayers €1 billion ($1.07 billion) each day. Europe’s Energy Union plans must support measures to decarbonize and reduce oil use in transport and promote greener, renewable energy sources in transport, such as renewable ethanol with its average 60 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) savings compared to petrol.

Good progress has been made so far to increase the use of renewable energy in Europe but much more action is needed in the transport sector to help achieve Europe’s 2020 and 2030 climate targets. Member States should seek to fully implement the Renewable Energy Directive quickly because the European Commission recently estimated that in 2014 the share of renewable energy use in Europe’s transport sector was only 5.7 percent, just over half way towards the RED’s binding target of a 10 percent share of renewable energy use in transport by 2020.

Low carbon alternative fuels, such as renewable ethanol, are the only realistic and viable option to reduce emissions from transport up to 2020 and beyond—and they are available now. That is why European policy makers should introduce measures to support higher biofuel blends and advanced biofuels up to 2030. These are necessary to achieve Europe’s climate and energy targets.

Learning from previous experience with the 2010 National Renewable Energy Action Plans, which were never implemented, national action plans need to be supported by a robust and enforceable policy framework. The absence of legally binding targets at Member State-level for renewable energy use after 2020 reinforces the need for a stronger governance framework to ensure that the EU collectively meets its 27 percent renewable energy target for 2030 and to prevent fragmented renewable energy policies across Member States.

“With transport responsible for two thirds of Europe’s oil demand, Member States should urgently increase their use of sustainable, EU-produced biofuels in transport. As focus now turns to COP21 and the development of a European climate and energy package for 2030, Europe needs a greener Energy Union with a stronger focus on reducing oil use in transport,” said Robert Wright, secretary-general of ePURE.