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Climate change body recommends lowering RTFO target

The chairman of an influential Government climate change body has recommended lowering a key renewable transport fuel target in a letter to energy secretary Chris Huhne.

Lord Turner, chair of the committee on climate change, recommended that the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) target of 10% renewable energy for transport by 2020 should be lowered due to the unavailability of sustainably sourced biofuels.

The RTFO is an obligation on fossil fuel suppliers to incorporate an agreed proportion of renewably sourced fuel (usually biofuel) with ordinary petrol or diesel.

Turner wrote: “The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) requires that there is an increasing proportion of biofuel in total road fuel consumption. The current level of ambition in the RTFO is that there will be 3.25% (by volume) in 2009/10, rising to 5% by 2013/14, and with scope for further increases to levels recommended in the Gallagher Review.

“The current transport ambition in the Renewable Energy Strategy requires around 10% renewable energy in surface transport by 2020. We recommend that it should be lowered unless new evidence is presented to suggest that the availability of sustainable biofuels is higher than that concluded by the Gallagher review.”

Turner’s letter came in response to an initial request from Chris Huhne for advice on the deployment of renewables by 2020.

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