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The European Commission should apply its own latest available science on biofuels if the EU renewable energy policy is to be a success, says the European renewable ethanol association ePURE.

In its July Communication on low emission mobility, the commission indicated it is considering a complete phase-out of all conventional biofuels—despite the commission’s own analyses showing the environmental benefits of conventional biofuels varies considerably. In a new position paper, ePURE argues the commission should provide policy support to conventional biofuels that measurably show strong environmental performance, such as European ethanol, and phase out those biofuels that pose high risks of indirect land use change (ILUC), such as biofuel made from palm oil and imported used cooking oil.

European ethanol is proven to have low ILUC risks and 64 percent direct GHG savings on average compared to fossil fuel. Phasing it out goes contrary to the commission’s scien0fic analyses and will rob transport of a credible green alternative to petrol. Ethanol is needed because other alternatives (e.g electrification) will not ramp up quickly enough to make a significant contribution to the 18-19 percent transport emission reduc0ons needed to achieve the EU target of 40 percent emission reductions by 2030.

ePURE urges the commission to reconsider the direction it is taking with its future policy for biofuels and propose policy measures that promote sustainable biofuels that are “ILUC compliant,” irrespective of whether they are conventional or advanced. Policy must allow all sustainable biofuels, conventional and advanced, to contribute to the EU climate objectives, through either binding blending targets or an obligation to reduce the CO2 intensity of transport fuels.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to conventional biofuels risks throwing out the good biofuels along with the bad. The commission should apply its own science and support all sustainable biofuels, including European ethanol. In this way, the commission can design a policy that incentivizes better environmental performance and maximizes emissions savings,” said Robert Wright, secretary general of ePURE. 

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