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15 July 2021

NGVA Europe comments on Europe’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate package

Press Release

Brussels, 15 July 2021 – Yesterday, the European Commission tabled the ‘Fit for 55’ climate package which consists of energy and climate legislation aimed at reaching the EU’s 2030 goal of cutting emissions by 55%, and putting Europe on track to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As a key component, this package includes files that have far-reaching consequences for the future of our mobility, including gas in transport.

“Within the ‘Fit for 55’ package, the European Commission missed the opportunity to also account for the positive contribution of renewable sustainable fuels such as biomethane when assessing the overall emissions of a vehicle by only measuring CO2 emissions at the tailpipe.

This move can be seen as a forced EU-wide switch to electromobility. The elimination of technological competition between ecologically equivalent solutions will lead to new dependencies, be they on resources, companies, markets and tax subsidies, which will also be the case for financially weaker EU countries, provided that the subsequent approval process does not involve any changes”, noted NGVA Europe’s Secretary General Dr Jens Andersen.

Setting an ambitious 2035 target of a 100% reduction in CO2 without recognizing the potential of renewable fuels in cutting the GHG emissions of road transport would mean a de facto ban and lead to transfer of technology out of Europe. The reduction of CO2 in transport is much more about the decarbonisation of the energy employed, rather than the underlying drive-train technology: an internal combustion engine (ICE), fuelled with renewable sustainable fuels such as biomethane, has a carbon footprint comparable to that of an electric vehicle or even less than that.

While it is essential to drastically lower transport emissions, the EC has failed to allow the EU to enable climate neutrality for transport in a swift and socio-economically efficient manner. That is because this approach prevents the EU from reaping the great benefits yielded from additional CO2 savings stemming from renewable sustainable fuels such as biomethane, while failing to ensure that the transition towards carbon neutral mobility does not leave anyone behind. In doing so, the EU is at the same time contradicting its own principle of technology neutrality.

“Together with many hundreds of associations, companies and scientists, NGVA Europe has already laid out several joint letters and calls, addressing these common concerns.[1] [2] [3] [4] Neglecting the chance for immediate, additional CO2 savings through renewable sustainable fuels and the major role that gmobility can play in this regard will severely curtail the dynamic deployment of renewable fuels precisely where the market demands them.

NGVA Europe believes that a mechanism, such as—for example—a voluntary crediting system for sustainable renewable fuels [5], can be the necessary solution and is looking forward to discussing this proposal with EU policymakers, the industry, and its members in addition to regional and social partners.”, Andersen commented further.

Gas as a transport fuel offers important benefits to consumers, the environment and the economy. It is available as (bio)CNG for passenger cars and buses in addition to (bio)LNG for heavy-duty transport and the maritime sector, and provides a quick and cost-effective method to meet the key EU objectives, including the decarbonisation of road transport and improvement of air quality in cities. Biomethane or synthetic gas from renewable sources can reduce CO2 emissions significantly, or even yield negative greenhouse gas emissions[6].

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[1] https://www.ngva.eu/medias/joint-open-letter-on-the-future-of-vehicle-co2-standards/
[2] https://www.ngva.eu/medias/joint-letter-on-renewable-fuels-strategy-and-contribution-to-vehicle-co2/
[3] https://www.ngva.eu/medias/call-to-include-a-voluntary-crediting-system-for-sustainable-renewable-fuels-into-the-vehicle-co2-regulations/
[4] https://www.ngva.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Press_release_on_the_open_letter_to_the_EU_Commission_final.pdf
[5] https://www.ngva.eu/medias/call-to-include-a-voluntary-crediting-system-for-sustainable-renewable-fuels-into-the-vehicle-co2-regulations/
[6] https://www.ngva.eu/medias/new-study-published-co2-emission-abatement-costs-of-gas-fuelled-mobility-and-other-road-transport-options/