Published Monday, 13 July 2015

New report is out: delivering low carbon transport fuels post 2020 

To reduce European transport’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, action will be needed on three fronts: to reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels consumed; to improve the energy efficiency of transport vehicles; and to improve the efficiency of the overall transport system. Despite this, the European Commission’s 2030 framework for climate and energy policies rejected the continuation of existing targets aimed at supporting lower carbon transport fuels.

Important elements of the current policy framework have been problematic and controversial due to the shifts in technology and behaviour that have occurred, or conversely have failed to materialise. The level of emission savings resulting from the expanded use of conventional biofuels has been widely questioned. Equally, however, a lack of emphasis at the EU level on curbing GHG emissions from transport fuels would arguably lead to stagnation.

A new IEEP report launched today analyses a range of policy tools and mechanisms that could be employed to deliver GHG emission reductions. The report is funded by Transport & Environment and drafted in collaboration with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Transport & Environment Policy Research (TEPR). It takes as its starting point an analysis of the need to decarbonise transport fuels and promote low carbon alternatives.

It is possible to estimate the behaviour changes needed by the key actors in the fossil fuel, biofuel, electricity and hydrogen sectors to deliver decarbonisation. Setting out what individual transport fuel streams and associated actors need to deliver in Europe would increase clarity and provide a basis for innovation and uptake of low carbon solutions. The report clearly highlights the distinct goals that need to be delivered to achieve decarbonisation, including: a GHG footprint for fossil fuels that declines over time; differentiation between biofuels based on the risk associated with their usage; and support for the expanded use of electric vehicles. It then examines the challenges and opportunities for integrating and prioritising these goals within a future EU policy framework.

For more information on IEEP’s work on low carbon fuels and biofuels, please contact Catherine Bowyer (