GRFA: IRENA report highlights key role for transport biofuels

By Global Renewable Fuels Alliance | March 22, 2017

Bliss Baker, president of the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance, called on G20 leaders to build on the historic international cooperation achieved in 2016 with the ratification of the first binding climate agreement, the Paris Accord reached at COP21. 

“The global community must scale up the ambitiousness of policies to reduce emissions in the transport sector if they hope to achieve the targets laid out in the Paris Accord,” Baker said.

Baker was commenting on the recently released report “Perspectives for the Energy Transition” published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) prepared at the request of the German government. The report was requested to provide the 2017 German G20 presidency with the essential elements of an energy sector transition consistent with the temperature targets set out in the Paris Agreement (less than 2C rise by 2100) and inform G20 work on energy and climate.

The analysis conducted by IRENA in the report highlights the key role that liquid biofuels will have to play in the transport sector’s energy transition to 2050 and beyond. From the report: 

“In transport… the share of liquid biofuels and biomethane in total renewable energy use would grow from 4 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2030 and 26 percent in 2050. In absolute terms, this represents four-fold growth, from 129 billion liters in 2015 to approximately 500 billion liters per year by 2030. After 2030, the amount would more than double, to 1120 billion liters per year by 2050.”

The report notes that the transport sector has the lowest renewable energy share among all sectors today but contributes a disproportionally high share of direct CO2 emissions (around 45 percent), making it a priority sector for policy action to reduce emissions. Biofuels like ethanol have been proven to reduce GHG emissions from 40 percent to 90 percent in comparison to fossil fuels.

“The potential for significantly increasing the use of biofuels in the global transport sector, using the existing fleet of cars and fuel infrastructure, represents exactly the kind of immediately available opportunities to significantly reduce emissions necessary to meet the Paris Accord climate targets,” Baker said. “The GRFA is committed to working with governments to develop smart policies that will maximize the emission reductions potential of biofuels in the global transport sector,” he concluded.