By Rubina Obaid
Integrated approach clearly opens the possibility of aligning national administrative processes between energy and climate fields. Through this integrated approach, the benefits of synergy could be reaped as the sustainable biomass value chains can support food, feed, and raw materials, along with achieving the significant advantage of climate neutrality, resource efficiency, and overall emission reduction.
For the sake of an inclusive transition to achieve a circular and resource-efficient economy, the European green deal has set the target to reach climate neutrality by 2050 in order to restore biodiversity and minimize the pollution. Whereas, the unprecedented pandemic crisis came with evolved priorities that led to compelling measures to be taken for economic recovery whilst keeping the importance of smooth transition towards green energy sources. Sector integrated biomass policies are to be facilitated at the national level for attaining resource efficiency and constructive contribution for wider economic development. Coherent set of action must be taken at EU and national level, for a transparent green energy framework in which member states will set out their national contribution for 2030 energy targets.
This new integrated national plan also incorporates previously devised sectoral planning instruments such as National Renewable Energy Action Plans and National Energy Efficiency Action Plan. As decarbonization of one of the most polluting sectors, that is transportation is still at a very early stage while primary production still relies broadly on chemical inputs that cause loss of soil and quality nutrients. Therefore, the integrated approach clearly opens the avenues of aligning national administrative processes between energy and climate fields. Through this integrated approach, the benefits of synergy could be reaped as the sustainable biomass value chains can support food, feed, and raw materials, along with achieving the significant advantage of climate neutrality, resource efficiency, and overall emission reduction.
The value chains include variable feedstock and also comprised of sequential, interdependent sector activities including land use and feedstock production, biobased carriers, conversion to energy, and the variable markets using end products. This development involves cross-sectoral interaction between the upstream and downstream stages. Moreover, these sectoral policies are regulated by the ones used for renewable energy and agriculture. A coherent policy helps in avoiding the duplication of efforts and offers effective interaction between different policies and potential effects without incurring the chance of overlapping, which enables member states to make the least-cost choices for a better national energy and climate policies.
Using biomass as a raw material for transport biofuel offers fuel solutions that are readily available especially to the sectors with limited short term alternatives such as aviation, heavy-duty, and maritime. Electrification of transport is expected to cover the need of the rest of the sector. For ensuring sustainability RED II has introduced a more targeted approach and reduced the impact of Indirect Land Use Change. Bioliquids and biomass fuel, obtained from food or feed crops will be available to be used by 2024, that will eventually help in minimizing carbon emission from transportation sector by 2030.
Hence, for integrated strategic plans for achieving EU common environmental objectives, quantified targets are set, to put forth coordinated efforts with renewable energy directive at the national level for the development of sector integrated biomass policies. According to the foreseen needs, policymakers can devise intervention throughout the value chain, keeping land-use change, forestry, and greenhouse gas emission in consideration within specific geographic settings. Nevertheless, advancing biofuels can significantly contribute to sequestering carbon emission along with addressing key elements of renewable energy and agricultural targets in line with the Paris agreement of climate neutrality goals.