The European Commission recently presented a new EU framework on climate and energy for 2030. Among the many provisions, which include a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below the 1990 level and an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%, is a proposal not to establish a new target for a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels after 2020.
Currently, EU legislation (the Fuel Quality Directive, or FQD) requires a reduction of the greenhouse gas intensity of the fuels used in vehicles by up to 10% by 2020—i.e., a Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The FQD applies to all gasoline, diesel and biofuels used in road transport, as well as to gasoil used in non-road-mobile machinery. The 10% reduction target comprises:
- a 6% reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels by 2020, with intermediate indicative targets of 2% by 2014 and 4% by 2017;
- an additional 2% reduction subject to developments in new technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS); and
- a further 2% reduction to come from the purchase of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) credits.
The Commission does not think it appropriate to establish new targets for renewable energy or the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels used in the transport sector or any other sub-sector after 2020. The assessment of how to minimise indirect land-use change emissions made clear that first generation biofuels have a limited role in decarbonising the transport sector. The Commission has already indicated, for example, that food-based biofuels should not receive public support after 2020. A range of alternative renewable fuels and a mix of targeted policy measures building on the Transport White Paper are needed to address the challenges of the transport sector in a 2030 perspective and beyond.
The focus of policy development should be on improving the efficiency of the transport system, further development and deployment of electric vehicles, second and third generation biofuels and other alternative, sustainable fuels as part of a more holistic and integrated approach. This is in line with the alternative fuels strategy and should be considered in future reviews and revisions of the relevant legislation for the period after 2020.—Policy framework for climate and energy from 2020 to 2030
The Communication setting out the 2030 framework will be debated at the highest level, in particular in the European Council and European Parliament. It is accompanied by a legislative proposal for a market stability reserve for the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) starting in 2021, to improve its robustness.