Newsletter 3.2021

Dear reader,

Welcome to the third EUROFUEL newsletter of the year. In this edition we look at the latest policy developments taking place at the EU level. A breakthrough has just recently happened with the deal reached by the European Parliament and Council on the European Climate Law.

This is however only the first step opening a very busy season of reforms under the upcoming Fit for 55 Package. The latter will include a range of legislative proposals setting out concrete measures on how to deliver emission reductions across different sectors, including heating.

How to decarbonise buildings is already proving to be a very controversial debate in Brussels. As explained in this newsletter, the policy measures currently under discussion risk undermining technological developments while putting additional burdens on consumers. Enabling the scale up of new low-carbon liquid fuels will represent a more balanced and fair approach to make the energy transition a success for everyone.

Making the case for such an approach towards policymakers at national and European level is exactly what Eurofuel is already doing and continue to do in the coming months!


Dr Ernst-Moritz Bellingen



Deal on the European Climate Law

The foundations of the European Green Deal have been laid. On 21 April, The Council's and the European Parliament's negotiators reached a provisional political agreement setting into law the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050. The law strengthens the legal framework to reach this objective by:

  • Setting an intermediate EU wide 2030 climate target of at least 55% reduction of net GHG emissions as compared to 1990;
  • Introducing a process for setting a 2040 climate target by 2023;
  • Establishing a European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, that will provide independent scientific advice on the EU’s progress to achieve the goal;

A climate neutral EU


Although they started from very distant positions, Council and Parliament reached the long-awaited compromise. While not convincing the Council to raise the 2030 target to 60%, the Parliament however managed to obtain the commitment to set a 2040 target by 2023 and the establishment of the independent Advisory Board, two elements strongly pushed by the Parliament’s negotiating team. Once formally approved by Parliament and Council in the coming weeks, the European Climate Law will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and will enter into force.

What does it mean

The agreement on the climate law is however only the first step as the legislative framework to achieve the climate neutrality objective will be defined by the upcoming proposals under the Fit for 55 Package. The latter will set out the Commission’s vision on how to deliver emission reductions across all the sectors of the economy, including heating.


How to decarbonise heating: the match is on

How to decarbonise the heating sector is already proving to be one of the most controversial debates in Brussels. Some believe the way forward is to set clear timelines for the phase out of fossil fuels in heating. That’s the main message coming from a Joint Letter on the “Need for binding targets and national plans to support the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector” sent to Commissioner Kadri Simson by a group of NGOs and trade associations Euroheat & Power, Renewable Heating & Cooling Alliance, EHPA, Solar Heat Europe, EGEC, E3G, ECOS and BEUC. The latter – the association representing consumer organisations at the EU level – recently also published a position paper on consumer-friendly heating, and another on affordable housing. The documents acknowledge that different solutions will be needed bearing in mind, for instance, the specificities of both rural and urban areas. They also point out that bans on fossil fuel heating appliances or the phase out of gas by a certain date do not provide sufficient clarity nor guidance to consumers. However, the organisation recommends such bans provided that they are accompanied with sufficient measures (information to consumers, skilled installers, etc.). 

Ursula von der Leyen April 2021

Phasing out does not however seem to be in the radar of the European Commission, at least so far. A more concrete option might be to include buildings and road transport in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). This was confirmed also by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the Climate Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden on 22 April. While the details of this measure are far from clear, it seems the Commission will not propose to include the new sectors in the existing ETS – currently covering mainly industrial emissions – but rather create an adjacent, dedicated carbon market. As expected, this option sparked a very controversial debate amongst stakeholders, especially due to the potentially negative effects that it would have on low-income households.


Eurofuel’s way

In our view, neither technology bans nor creating a dedicated ETS system for buildings will deliver the pragmatic and just energy transition that EU citizens deserve. Banning heating solutions is a detrimental measure stifling innovation and heavily undermining the technology neutrality principle on which EU’s energy policy is based. At the same time, creating a carbon market for buildings risks to put unreasonable burden on low-income consumers.

In alternative to such proposals, at Eurofuel we believe that all the solutions providing emission reductions should be able to play a role to decarbonise heating and achieve the objectives of the Green Deal. Accordingly, EU and national law makers should facilitate investments in new low-carbon liquid fuels for heating and recognizing their greenhouse gas reduction potential. That’s – in a nutshell – the key message of our video “Let's draw a future proof heating” shown for the first time at the ISH 2021 virtual conference on 25 March.

Lets draw a future proof heating

In that occasion we had the opportunity to present our vision for new low-carbon heating fuels to a wide range of stakeholders. Given the very busy policy agenda in the coming months, it will be crucial to further share our messages with policymakers both in Brussels and EU capitals!


Coming up this month


As the liquid heating fuels industry prepares for its low-carbon future, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and Eurofuel, the liquid heating oil European association, will host its second annual conference titled “Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels: Putting the Pieces Together” on 20 and 27 May 2021.

Banner Putting the pieces together

This follows last year’s widely attended "Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels in a Carbon Constrained World" conference. The 2021 event, presented online, will feature speakers and topics with the goal of putting the pieces in place to answer the questions on transitioning to low-carbon fuels that were identified during the 2020 event. The 2021 conference will be hosted on two consecutive Thursdays, 20 and 27 May, with sessions approximately two hours and a half in length. Each day will begin at 9am U.S. Eastern Daylight Savings Time and 3pm in Europe (CET).

Thursday, May 20: Public Policy & Greenhouse Gas Reductions
Thursday, May 27: Technology Advancements—Are They Positioning Us for a Future?

To see the full programme, click here

Attendance is free of charge but registration is mandatory: Register now