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Friday, 13 September 2013

Biofuels: EMPs vote to cap use for transport

European Parliament has called for a cap on the use of traditional biofuels and a speedy switchover to new biofuels from alternative sources such as seaweed and waste, in a vote on draft legislation on Wednesday. The measures aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from the increasing turnover of agricultural land to biofuel production.
MEPs say "first-generation" biofuels - from crops like corn - should not exceed 6% of the final energy consumption in transport by 2020, amending the current 10% target in existing legislation. They want "advanced biofuels" - sourced from seaweed or certain types of waste - to make up at least 2.5% fuel used in transport by 2020.
MEPs vote by 356 votes to 327 to support a legislative report by Corinne Lepage, a French liberal MEP, which puts a limit on the proportion of food-based biofuels that should make up the fuel mix. It is the parliament's contribution to the new EU policy on biofuels announced by the European Commission last October.
Before becoming law, the draft legislation still have to be agreed with the 28 member states' governments, represented in the EU Council. If they have different position than the Parliament's first reading text, a second reading will be required.
Scientific evidence has shown that the resultant increase in emissions can cancel out some of the biofuels' benefits, when taken into account of the whole life cycle from production to consumption - known as "indirect land use change (ILUC)". Some studies suggest that continuing with the current level of EU incentives for food-based biofuels would actually cancel out the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions achieved by switching to biofuels.

Source: European Parliament