EU sets mandatory green fuel targets for aviation
Photo courtesy of Neste

EU sets mandatory green fuel targets for aviation

The European Union (EU) has taken a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. On September 13, the European Parliament adopted the ReFuel EU Aviation Regulation, following the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED III). 

Under the new mandate, fuel suppliers will be obligated to ensure that sustainable aviation fuels constitute at least 2% of the fuel sold for flights within the EU by 2025. This percentage is set to increase progressively, reaching 5% by 2030, 20% by 2040, and 35% by 2050.

The decision comes as part of the EU’s broader strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The aviation sector, responsible for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, has been under scrutiny for its environmental impact. The new targets aim to prompt a shift away from fossil fuels, encouraging the development and use of greener alternatives.

Sustainable aviation fuels, derived from waste, non-food crops, or other renewable sources, have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to conventional jet fuel. However, their adoption has been slow due to higher production costs and limited availability.

The EU’s decision is expected to boost investments in sustainable fuel production, making them more accessible and affordable for airlines. While the targets are ambitious, they reflect the EU’s commitment to pioneering a green transition in all sectors, including aviation.

The approved measures also include provisions for reviewing the targets by 2032, allowing adjustments based on technological advancements and market developments.

Environmentalists and industry stakeholders have had mixed reactions to the announcement. While many applaud the move as a step in the right direction, others believe the targets could be more aggressive, given the urgency of the climate crisis.

Regardless of differing opinions, the EU’s decision underscores the global shift towards sustainable practices, with the aviation industry now firmly in the spotlight.