Fixing Europe's clean fuels policy

The EU’s 2009 renewable energy directive (RED I) was designed to increase the share of “renewable” fuels in transport. To achieve this the EU imposed a target of 10% renewable energy in transport on EU member states. EU policy focused on achieving big volumes of renewable fuels but failed to adopt proper quality standards – sustainability criteria – for what kind of fuels could contribute to that target. Because of this, the EU’s renewable transport fuel market is now dominated by crop biodiesel, which is increasingly sourced from palm oil. On average biodiesel’s greenhouse gas impact is 80% worse than the fossil diesel it replaces. As a result, the EU’s cleaner transport fuels policy has increased rather than reduced transport emissions. It also has significant and very negative social and environmental impacts, such as deforestation and loss of biodiversity in other countries.