Jens Gieseke – Opportunity for synthetic fuels

Jens Gieseke is Vice Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) in the European Parliament.

Jens Gieseke is a “passionate cyclist.” Coming from the Emsland region, where everything is flat and manageable, this is his transportation of choice. “Without an electric motor, by the way. Only with his own muscle power,” emphasizes the CDU/CSU spokesman on cycling policy in the European Parliament.

As Vice Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), mobility is his main topic. It’s been on his mind ever since he studied law, which also didn’t keep him in one place. He studied in Osnabrück, Lausanne, Geneva and Freiburg. “Mobility and studying have always belonged together for me,” says Gieseke.

E-fuels as an alternative to EVs

After the 1st state exam, he works for one year as a research assistant for the European Parliament in Strasbourg. After the 2nd state exam, he moves to Brussels, where he holds various EU jobs. Since 2014 he is a Member of the European Parliament.

In the Transport Committee, he accompanies the debate for the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation(AFIR) and the carbon fleet regulation as shadow rapporteur for the EPP. The Commission’s proposal to introduce a 100 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2035 for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles was adopted by the Parliament, to Gieseke’s regret. He would have liked to prevent the “de facto ban on internal combustion vehicles” but was unable to get his way.

Gieseke thinks: If alternative forms of propulsion that would also be carbon-neutral could be produced demonstrably, he says, they should be given a chance. “For me, this also includes e-fuels.”

Before the vote in Parliament, Gieseke campaigned for a voluntary crediting system for synthetic fuels, but it narrowly failed to win a majority in the plenary. Under this system, manufacturers could receive credits toward their carbon fleet limits for the independent production of renewable fuels.

The Parliament, he says, is adopting more hydrogen-based renewable fuels, but at the same time is speaking out against internal combustion engines. “Of course, this is not a coherent policy,” Gieseke criticizes. He says the two concepts need to be brought together, ideally with a more technology-neutral approach. “I didn’t go into politics with the idea of banning things, but ideally setting a framework that allows competition for the best technology,” he explains.

‘EVs are artificially preferred’

E-fuels are carbon-neutral on balance, he says, and can be produced because of renewable energy. “In a way, EVs are artificially preferred,” Gieseke says. With them, upstream carbon emissions are ignored, he says. If Gieseke could have his way, such decisions should come from the market rather than the legislator.

“I’m not against electromobility, but not everything needs to be electric if there are different needs,” Gieseke says. Specifically, he is working on continuing his crediting process for synthetic fuels. “So that in the end we’re not talking about wishes, but about legal reality and implementation, to actually anchor this crediting legislatively.” He has the opportunity to do so in the trialogue between the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission, where the revision of the carbon fleet limits is finally negotiated. However, the Commission would have to make a corresponding regulatory proposal in a timely manner. Livia Hofmann

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