10 Nov 2020, 13:47
Kerstine Appunn

Environment minister urges higher renewables goal in German transport sector


Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze will this week introduce an addition to her draft legislation on the use of biofuels and renewables in transport, including a more ambitious target of a 20 percent share of renewables by 2030, she writes in an op-ed for the Handelsblatt. Her proposal is “keeping options open which technologies will win the race, but creates incentives to invest in advanced, environmentally and climate-friendly options,” she says. The transport sector is finally seeing a wave of change triggered by the climate crisis and air pollution, and this has started a competition for the best solutions, Schulze writes.

The new law, based on the EU’s RED II directive, will re-arrange Germany’s greenhouse gas quota for fuels and Schulze says that it will help reach the EU target for Germany (14% renewables in transport) by 2026 instead of 2030. The draft law gives extra incentives for the use of green hydrogen in air transport and exceeds the calculated need for this electricity-based fuel as stipulated in the government’s national hydrogen strategy. But hydrogen should only be used where there are no viable alternatives, Schulze writes: in aviation, shipping and trucks. Private cars, on the other hand, run most efficiently on electricity, she argues. To also make the remaining combustion engine cars as clean as possible, Schulze wants to promote waste-based biofuels, mainly produced from used cooking oils. “Most of the biofuels used today are driving the deforestation of rainforests. Often, they are more harmful to the climate overall and compete directly with feed and food - despite the sustainability criteria already in place. That is why I want to move away from conventional biofuels towards truly sustainable alternatives,” she writes.

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