Members' Research Service By / May 31, 2022

ReFuelEU Aviation initiative: Summary of the Commission proposal and the Parliament’s draft committee report

In line with the priorities set out in the European Green Deal, in June 2021, the European Climate Law was adopted, setting into law the EU target for 2030 of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 % compared with 1990 levels.

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Written by Jaan Soone.

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission presented the fit for 55 package – including a number of proposals to help cut emissions from transport. The package includes a proposal to increase production and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), also known as the ReFuelEU Aviation initiative. In this proposal, the Commission puts forward obligations on fuel suppliers to distribute SAF when supplying fuel at EU airports, in order to enhance SAF uptake by airlines and so help reduce emissions from aviation. The Commission also wants to ensure that jet fuel uptake does not go beyond what is needed for safe operation of flights, to prevent additional emissions related to extra weight of aeroplanes carrying excessive amounts of fuel. This, in conjunction with the SAF supply obligation, is intended to ensure that all flights departing from larger EU airports carry a minimum amount of SAF. 

In the European Parliament, the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) is responsible for the file. In his draft report, the rapporteur Søren Gade (Renew Europe, Denmark) has proposed several changes to the Commission’s approach.

The TRAN committee draft report aims, inter alia, to provide aircraft operators and fuel suppliers with more flexibility to arrange SAF distribution, initially extending the transition period. Moreover, it suggests widening the rules’ scope to encompass more airports; wants to encourage investment in electric and hydrogen propulsion technology; and calls for the development of an environmental labelling scheme to further encourage SAF use.

The vote in the TRAN committee is tentatively scheduled for June 2022.

Read the complete briefing on ‘ReFuelEU Aviation initiative: Summary of the Commission proposal and the Parliament’s draft committee report‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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