Cut in EU role for food-crop biofuels is welcomed

European Commission thinking on which biofuels are sustainable, and should be encouraged, and which aren't, appears to be moving in the right direction according to the 'greener transport' campaign organisation, Transport & Environment (T&E).

Commenting on leaked Commission plans to address the so-called ‘negative impacts’ of sourcing biofuels from food crops, T&E is positive on an apparent change of mind in Brussels but wants commissioners to go even further than their rumoured action.

The key ‘leak’ quoted by T&E is that future EU changes to the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive will result in crop-based fuels being required to provide just 5% of transport fuels by 2020, rather than the 10% target currently listed in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. The move is being driven by the so-called ‘indirect land use change’ (ILUC) factor, which is claimed to show ILUC emissions of biodiesel from oil seeds being higher than those from bio-ethanol, made from sugars and cereals.

“Having dragged its feet for so long, it’s encouraging that the Commission finally seems to take all the accumulated science seriously and is about to take meaningful action,” said T&E’s programme manager, Nusa Urbancic.

While agreeing that the planned action would prevent a further spread of unsustainable biofuels, Nusa added that it still wouldn’t fundamentally steer future bioenergy in a sustainable direction.

T&E further argue that if the EU doesn’t totally change course on this issue, its biofuels policy may still lead to the ‘conversion of an area up to the size of Ireland, which would be equivalent of adding up to 29 million extra cars to EU roads’.

edie staff

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