Paris Agreement Countries to Rely on Biofuels to Reduce Transport GHGs

10.05.16 | Blog | By:

This week both India and the EU ratified the Paris Agreement, which means it will now enter into force in the next 30 days, having surpassed the threshold of 55 countries representing 55% of global GHG emissions as the figure below shows.

unfcc_paris_agreement

I created a map showing these countries:

pa_countries_oct2016

A story in Deutsche Welle (DW) highlighted the challenge India is going to have in balancing the need to increase economic growth to combat poverty with meeting the climate targets imposed under the Paris Agreement. Other developing countries will no doubt experience the same – and some of these countries are featured in the map above. According to another report from the Wall Street Journal this week, rising incomes in India and China helped drive down poverty rates throughout Asia.

The government’s plans to lift millions out of poverty is going to fundamentally alter India’s energy use, with the IEA estimating that the country’s energy demand will account for roughly a 25% of the global increase in consumption by 2040.

Most of the countries that ratified the Paris Agreement have already or will set low carbon fuel and vehicle (LCFV) initiatives for fuel economy, electric vehicles, biofuels and hydrogen vehicles among other measures (such as improving public transport). I created the following map overlaying the ratifying countries with the LCFV initiatives they intend to meet climate targets.

lcfv_parisagreement_oct2016

The primary LCFV initiative countries plan? Biofuels programs, followed by tightening fuel economy standards. Despite the ongoing controversy about whether biofuels actually reduce GHG emissions (See e.g. “Biofuels Turn Out to Be a Climate Mistake – Here’s Why“), policymakers don’t seem to see it that way at this time nor do the numbers bear it out, as the chart below shows.

etoh_bd_charts

The twin desires to mitigate climate change from transport and increase economic development make biofuels an attractive option to them. In fact, USDA released a report this week showing that in 2014, the biobased products industry contributed US$393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to the U.S. economy.