The European Parliament has adopted its position on new draft rules for greener aviation. These are part of the EU’s comprehensive ‘Fit for 55’ ambition to battle climate change.
By 334 votes to 95, and 153 abstentions, the EP adopted a negotiation mandate to start proceedings with the member states on new EU draft rules to increase the uptake of sustainable fuels by EU
airports and aircraft. This should lead to a cut in emissions in aviation, to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
Whereas the Commission initially proposed the minimum share of a sustainable aviation fuel of 23% for 2040, and 63% for 2050, the EP increased these percentages to 37% and 85%, respectively.
The EP also amended the EC-proposed definition of ‘sustainable aviation fuel’; the term covering synthetic fuels or certain biofuels, produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, biowaste, or used cooking oil. In the EP’s definition, recycled carbon fuels from waste processing gas and exhaust gas for production processes in industrial installations, were included.
Also suggested were some biofuels from animal fats or distillates, optionally allowed for a limited time (until 2034). Feed and food-crop-based fuels as well as fuels derived from palm oil, soy-derived materials, and soap stock were excluded as they do not align with the proposed sustainability criteria.
On the other hand, the EP sees renewable electricity and hydrogen as promising technologies that could progressively contribute to the decarbonization of air transport. According to the EU draft rules, the EU airports should facilitate the access of aircraft operators to sustainable aviation fuels, including electricity and hydrogen.
Sustainable Aviation Fund
The EP has proposed the creation of a Sustainable Aviation Fund from 2023 through to 2050, to accelerate the decarbonization of the aviation sector and support investment in sustainable aviation fuels, innovative propulsion technologies, and the research into new engines. The Fund would be supplemented by penalties generated by the enforcement of these rules.
The EP has also called on the EC to develop an EU labelling system on the performance of aircraft, operators, and commercial flights, by 2024. The EP rapporteur, Danish MEP, Søren Gade, has said: “Aviation is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonize. We have shown how to do this and have sent a strong and ambitious signal to the citizens of Europe. We heard you when you called for climate action, and we are working as much as we can to achieve a truly green Europe.”
Civil aviation accounts for 13.4% of total CO2 emissions from EU transport.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels
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