The Fit for 55 policy package is a set of proposals to revise and update European Union legislation in support of the EU’s target of reducing its net emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. While the Fit for 55 was first introduced in July of 2021, several of its key proposals have recently been passed and will take effect over the coming years.
In December of 2022, new EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) rules for aviation became the first policy of the Fit for 55 package to have an agreement reached. The major change implemented by the proposal was the phase out of free emissions allowances by 2026, with targets of reducing allowances for the aviation sector by 25% in 2024, 50% in 2025 and 100% from 2026 on. The agreement will further set aside 20 million free emissions allowances to promote sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use through 2030.
The ETS’ carbon neutral designation for biogenic emissions will apply to SAF as well through this update. The program recommends biogenic content testing following EN ISO 21644 or equivalent standards to demonstrate compliance.
Another major Fit for 55 initiative focused on aviation which recently reached agreement is the ReFuelEU directive, which sets mandatory SAF blending targets starting in 2025, with the goal of decarbonizing the sector by supporting both supply and demand. The agreement establishes a transitional period for fuel suppliers to meet the first set of blending mandates and will require aircraft operators to track the use of SAF in their flights to ensure compliance.
Several other significant policies which had agreements reached in this wave of Fit for 55 progress are the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Social Climate Fund (SCF). These policies address a range of climate actions, including a new tariff on foreign goods from countries with lower carbon emissions standards (CBAM), raising the EU’s energy efficiency goal for 2030 by 9% (EED), and the creation of a pool of capital for supporting vulnerable households through the energy transition (SCF).
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