The European Parliament’s energy committee is likely to submit a very different opinion on how to deal with indirect land-use change (ILUC) than the Parliament’s environment committee.
Opinion by Jos Dings. So now it’s official – the EU’s biofuel policy is not only counterproductive for the environment, it is also a massive economic drag. A new study we put out on 17 April shows that, on a total turnover in the range of €16bn, the sector receives about €10bn in public support per year.
The total annual public support for biofuels production in Europe is around €10 billion, equivalent to a bailout of Cyprus every year, according to a new report. T&E says the finding confirms that most biofuels on the market today are not only bad for the environment but do not help Europe’s economy either. The report comes as the leading MEP in the environment committee of the European Parliament has proposed to classify different biofuels according to their environmental impacts by including their emissions from so-called indirect land-use change (ILUC).
The battle to get the full environmental impact of biofuels recognised in EU legislation is still slow to make progress. Despite a letter from eight NGOs and a study from the Netherlands, EU energy ministers, in a meeting last month, did not even support the Commission’s proposed 5% cap on ‘first generation’ biofuels. At the same time, two new studies from the EU’s Joint Research Centre confirm that biofuels with high indirect land-use change emissions will cause more greenhouse gas emissions than petrol and diesel.
The EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has told an audience in America that the EU will stick to its proposal to classify fuel extracted from tar sands as more polluting than conventional petrol and diesel.
A report commissioned by four environmental organisations says Europe can effectively meet its current renewable energy target in transport without the need for harmful biofuels. With growing concerns that the current EU biofuel policy will increase greenhouse gas emissions, the report presents an alternative scenario that promotes the use of truly sustainable biofuels, maximises non-liquid sources of energy, and reduces overall energy consumption. T&E says the first step towards this clearly improved scenario must be to change current EU policy so it accounts for the full carbon footprint of biofuels.
Environmental groups have reacted angrily to news that the Commission has approved a scheme that would allow fuels made from palm oil to count towards the EU’s renewable fuels target. The decision threatens to reignite the controversy that indirect land-use change (ILUC) is not being taken into account in the EU’s biofuels policy.
The USA will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer of oil well before 2020. That is one of the headline findings of the International Energy Agency’s latest report on energy trends, World Energy Outlook.
The Commission has published its eagerly awaited proposal to address indirect land-use change (Iluc) impacts of biofuels production. But the proposal stops short of tackling emissions from Iluc, saying such emissions must be reported but do not affect fuel producers’ ability to count biofuels as part of their renewable energy and climate targets. T&E has called this a missed opportunity to get the EU’s biofuels policy right.