Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations
DISCLAIMER: The information hereunder is intended to facilitate the implementation of Subsidiary Legislation 423.48. It is itself not legally binding. Any authoritative reading of the law should only be derived from Subsidiary Legislation 423.48, Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 and other applicable legal texts or principles. This note is solely intended to help suppliers by explaining the applicable law.
European legislation addressing fuels used for road transport in the EU requires that such fuels meet strict quality requirements to protect human health and the environment, whilst making sure that vehicles can safely travel from one country to another on the basis of compatible fuels.
Subsidiary Legislation 423.48, Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations, transposes Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive “by setting, in respect of road vehicles, non-road mobile machinery (including inland waterway vessels when not at sea), agricultural and forestry tractors, and recreational craft when not at sea, a target for the reduction of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, and transpose Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 by laying down rules on calculation methods and reporting requirements.” (Sub-regulation 2 of regulation 1 of the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations).
The Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations require a 6% minimum mandatory reduction of the greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuels by 2020 and other indicative additional reductions that may be required.
The Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations apply to:
• petrol, diesel and biofuels used in road transport, and
• gasoil used in non-road-mobile machinery.
Emissions reporting covers full life cycle
The greenhouse gas intensity of fuels is calculated on a life cycle basis, covering emissions from extraction, processing and distribution. Emissions reductions are calculated from a 2010 baseline.
The reduction target is likely to be achieved mainly through:
• the use of:
o biofuels which fulfil the sustainability criteria specified in the Biofuels (Sustainability Criteria) Regulations, ,
o less carbon intense (often gaseous) fossil fuels, and
o renewable fuels of non-biological origin; and
• a reduction of flaring and venting at the extraction stage of fossil fuel feedstocks.
It should be pointed out that:
• suppliers of biofuels for use in aviation may choose to become contributors to the reduction obligation;
• providers of electricity for use in road vehicles may choose to become contributors to the reduction obligation if they can demonstrate that they can adequately measure and monitor electricity supplied for use in those vehicles; and
• a group of suppliers may choose to meet the reduction obligation jointly.
The method to be applied and the details for the reporting of the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels is defined by Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 as transposed by the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations.
Suppliers shall report annually to the Malta Resources Authority on the greenhouse gas intensity of fuel and energy supplied by filling the template: Art 7aFQD template Supplier v3.2 – MRA. (This template is an adaptation of the original template compiled by the European Environment Agency and reflects the discussions of the informal expert meetings on the transposition of Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 implementing Article 7a Fuel Quality Directive involving the Commission services and experts from the Member States.)
The information submitted shall be subject to verification and to sharing with other government entities to ensure coherence of related data in the fulfilment of the various reporting obligations and to carry out regulatory functions.
It should be pointed out that on the European Union-level, there are currently no plans to extend the greenhouse gas reduction target beyond the year 2020. However, the European Commission has proposed a different framework to address the decarbonisation of transport fuels after 2020.
Sustainability Criteria for Biofuels
Biofuels can be used to fulfil the greenhouse gas emission reduction obligation, only if they meet certain sustainability criteria to minimise the undesired impacts from their production.
Among others, the following requirements have been set:
• greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels must be lower than the emissions from the fossil fuel they replace …
o … by, at least, 50% for installations older than 5 October 2015 (at least 35% until 2017), and
o … by, at least, 60% for newer installations; and
• the raw materials for biofuels cannot be sourced from land with high biodiversity or high carbon stock.
Taking account of indirect land use change
As global demand for biofuels rises, their production can contribute to the conversion of land such as forests and wetlands into agricultural land, leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions from indirect land use change can significantly reduce or even cancel the greenhouse gas savings from biofuels.
To account for this, the Authority may provide that the maximum contribution of biofuels produced from cereal and other starch-rich crops, sugars and oil crops and from energy crops grown on agricultural land that can be counted for the purpose of the fulfilment of the reduction obligation be limited to 7% of the energy in transport in 2020.
Other Useful Links
JRC, WELL-TO-TANK Appendix 1 – Version 4.0, 2013 – Conversion factors and fuel properties: http://iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu/about-jec/sites/iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu.about-jec/files/documents/report_2013/wtt_appendix_1_v4_july_2013_final.pdf
Guidance Note on approaches to quantify, verify, validate, monitor and report upstream emission reductions: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/clima/files/guidance_note_on_uer_en.pdf
The Indirect Land Use Change Directive: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1522152865835&uri=CELEX:32015L1513
The contents of this web page have been inspired by the European Commission web page available at https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/fuel_en