Print

Thursday, 11 July 2013

European Parliament: 5,5% cap on traditional biofuel

Draft legal measures to cap traditional biofuel production and accelerate the switchover to a new generation of products from other sources, such as seaweed and or certain types of waste, were approved by the European Parliament Environment Committee on Thursday, 11th of July. These measures aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to the growing use of farmland to produce biofuel crops.
Thus, according to the vote, the share of first-generation biofuels, produced from food and energy crops, must not exceed 5.5% of total energy consumption for transport purposes by 2020 (the European Commission had proposed a 5% cap).
Moreover, advanced biofuels produced from other sources, such as seaweed or certain types of waste, must account for no less than 2% of consumption by 2020, say MEPs. However, this share should not be achieved at the cost of depriving other industries of raw materials, destabilising EU waste policy, overexploiting forests or reducing biodiversity, they add.
These integrate in the policy framework which stipulates that renewable energy sources account for at least 10% of transport fuel use by 2020.
A new study released few days before the vote shows that using farm land to produce biofuel crops reduces the area available for food crops. This adds to pressure to free up more land, e.g. through deforestation, to grow more food - a process known as indirect land use change (ILUC). But deforestation in itself increases greenhouse gas emissions, which could cancel out part of the beneficial effects of using biofuels.
The European Parliament says to have had called as long ago as 2008 for the ILUC factor to be taken into account in EU biofuel policy.
These legislative amendments will be put to a plenary vote in Strasbourg in September.

Source: European Parliament