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UK Government wants aviation excluded from EU renewable energy target, reports BBC

UK Government wants aviation excluded from EU renewable energy target, reports BBC | BERR, BBC, John Sauven, Claude Termes, renewables
Fri 26 Sept 2008 – According to documents seen by BBC News, the UK Government is lobbying the European Commission for aviation to be excluded from a target to have 20% of Europe’s energy from renewable sources – which includes fuel as well as electricity – by 2020. The government ministry responsible, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), says it is pointless holding aviation to a legally binding target because of uncertainty over biofuels for planes.
The disclosure has not gone down well with Claude Turmes, the MEP leading negotiations on the renewable energy legislation for the European Parliament, who called the move “outrageous”. He said that if aviation is exempted it would be the equivalent of reducing the overall renewable contribution in Europe to 18.5% rather than 20%. The UK was not alone in its opposition to including aviation in the package, he went on, but it was the major opponent.
John Sauven of Greenpeace told the BBC that stripping out aviation would unravel the whole agreement, which, under the current proposals, the aviation sector would be bound by the 20% target.
Whilst the aviation and fuel industries might breathe more easily if aviation was excluded from the renewables target, it could have the effect of diminishing European efforts on progressing commercial aviation jet biofuels as fuel companies may no longer see a strong requirement for investing in their development and production, with priorities given instead to the ground transportation sector.

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Member Opinions:
By: qbrowell on 10/1/08
If it can be supplied, we'll use it...

Airlines would be delighted to use 20% biofuels by 2020 or even 100% if they will be available and cost competitive. But it is not up to the industry. It is down to the availability of such fuels. We don’t know whether there will be sufficient supply by 2020. So, rather than setting targets for airlines, governments should be providing incentives to develop sustainable biofuels that don’t compete for land with food crops and are safe. Once the fuel is certified, production needs to be ramped up. Along with advances in technology, the aviation industry sees sustainable biofuels as a key way to reduce its carbon footprint - which is why the industry is also working together to expedite the development of these fuels. Let's ensure we have a sufficient supply of biofuels before setting targets for their use.

Quentin Browell
International Air Transport Association, Geneva

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