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The route to a meaningful EU renewable energy target


Europe needs a renewable energy target for transport that delivers more than just feel-good results. But EU Member States are now considering an approach that – while appearing to set a high ambition for renewables in transport – undermines itself by allowing the use of artificial multipliers and national opt-outs that do nothing to help the climate.

As negotiators iron out the final details of the EU’s renewable energy policy for 2020-2030, they should not let a numbers game make them lose sight of the importance of actually reducing fossil fuel in transport. Multipliers – double-counting (or even more) certain renewables – make it appear that countries are hitting their renewable-energy targets when in reality they are still using fossil fuel. And allowing Member States to reduce their renewable energy target by lowering the contribution of crop-based biofuels below 7% is similarly counterproductive: removing a key tool for transport decarbonisation and leaving a lot of room on the road for fossil fuel.

What good is a renewable energy target if it isn’t actually helping achieve climate and energy goals? A more meaningful energy policy would include:

  • a firm target of at least 12% for renewables in transport, without multipliers, to which both crop-based and advanced biofuels can contribute
  • a stable 7% crop cap – any reduction should not penalize biofuels with high GHG savings
  • a binding sub-target for advanced biofuels, without multipliers, starting in 2021
  • a limit on palm oil and derivatives at existing levels