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Real progress on renewables – or just pretend? Four things to know about EU biofuels policy

03/05/2018

As negotiators finalise the EU’s renewable energy policy for 2020-2030, they are grappling with different visions for how to decarbonise transport – and for what real ambition on renewable energy looks like.

Here are some important guiding principles: four things EU policymakers need to keep in mind as they try to agree on a new policy framework that protects existing investments in biofuels and fosters innovation in advanced technology.

  1. Real progress on renewable energy? Or just pretend?

The EU needs real results on renewable energy, without letting Member States use ‘multipliers’ that cover up for fossil fuels. That means keeping sustainable ethanol in the EU energy mix.

  1. Unstable policies undermine EU decarbonisation

EU ethanol delivers 66% greenhouse gas savings over petrol now and keeps getting better. Europe should not turn back on sustainable biofuels – especially with transport emissions rising.

  1. Crop-based or advanced biofuels? Europe needs both

Second-generation (2G) biofuels like cellulosic ethanol are important and will deliver big on decarbonisation if we set the right policy now. Innovation depends on supporting sustainable crop-based (1G) technology. 

  1. Good or bad biofuels? Think domestic

Not all biofuels are created equal. The EU should limit the use of biofuels like palm oil that drive peatland drainage, but support those that contribute to GHG reduction and food security, like EU ethanol.