Replace oil with renewable energy in transport

Europe can effectively replace oil with renewable energy in transport without resorting to harmful biofuels, according to a new report by Dutch research institute CE Delft, commissioned by environmental groups. The report, Sustainable Alternatives for Land-based Biofuels in the European Union, explores scenarios that recommend a major EU policy shift, prioritising energy efficiency and speeding up the adoption of renewable electricity and sustainable biofuels such as those produced from waste and residues.

  • Under current EU obligations, 10 percent of the European transport sector should be powered by renewable sources by 2020, while fuel suppliers are also required to reduce the carbon intensity of transport fuels by 6 percent.
  • EU governments plan to meet these targets through extensive use of biofuels made from agricultural crops, ignoring their wide environmental and social impact including the displacement of food production to new land and the resulting carbon emissions.
  • According to a Commission study, most biofuels currently marketed in Europe offer no or limited carbon emission savings compared to conventional fuels when emissions from this indirect land use change (ILUC) are taken into account.
  • The Commission’s proposal, if adopted, would mean that at least half of the 10 percent fuel transport target would still be met using destructive biofuels in 2020 and their overall consumption would be allowed to grow.

The CE Delft report, commissioned by Greenpeace, BirdLife Europe, the European Environmental Bureau and Transport and Environment, shows what a real shift in policy would look like, instead of the wholly unsatisfactory compromise offered by the Commission in October.
ECOS Environmental Consultants Limited