EU greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise. It’s time to maximize sustainable biofuels


EU greenhouse gas emissions increased last year, highlighting the challenge Europe faces in meeting its climate-change commitments and the importance of transport and energy policies that favour the use of sustainable biofuels like renewable ethanol.

A new report from the European Environment Agency shows that greenhouse gas emissions increased by 0.6% in the EU in 2017, endangering efforts to reach a 2030 target of cutting emissions by 40%. The slight increase in emissions was largely driven by rising transport pollution, the EEA said, pointing to an “increase of oil consumption from road transport.”

That’s all the more reason for EU policymakers to do a better job of making use of transport decarbonisation tools they have right now. They should encourage the use of low-carbon liquid fuels like renewable European ethanol, which reduces GHG emissions by more than 70% on average compared to fossil fuels.

The EEA report is only the latest warning call from an international organisation about the need to do more to reduce transport emissions. In early October the International Energy Agency referred to the “untapped potential” of biofuels for decarbonising transport and concluded that there should be a bigger scale-up of conventional and advanced biofuels, and that biofuels and electric vehicles are complementary solutions to decarbonise transport.

As the UNIPCC recently warned, there is no time to waste when it comes to climate change. Europe needs to make better use of a solution that delivers results now and works in today’s infrastructure: renewable ethanol.

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