Instead of helping the environment, most biofuels actually hurt it. Biodiesel is the most consumed biofuel in Europe today. The problem? European food-based biodiesel emits, on average, 80% more CO2 than fossil diesel.
The European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
The European Union relies on foreign companies to supply 80% of its oil imports, according to a new study on the continent’s oil dependency. Russian firms supply more than one-third (36%) of imported crude, and just two of the top 10 oil suppliers to the EU are European – Shell and Norway’s Statoil.
Europe’s biofuels policies do increase global food prices. That’s the wide scientific consensus, according to a review of more than 100 economic modelling studies of the impact on food prices from increased demand for biofuels made from food crops. Increased demand for biodiesel has driven the price of vegetable oils in the EU, such as rapeseed, palm oil, soy and sunflower, up 171% per exajoule (EJ) of biodiesel produced, according to the analysis by consultancy Cerulogy for BirdLife Europe and T&E.
The EU’s current trade policy could undermine Europe’s goal of decarbonising transport by encouraging the consumption of unsustainable biofuels, a new report has found. With free trade talks between the EU and the Mercosur countries ongoing, there are serious concerns that the removal of trade barriers in energy and raw materials could lead to an increase in imports of unsustainable biodiesel from Argentina – if sustainability safeguards are not put in place. The report says there is a need for coherence in EU trade and climate policies.
Today, biofuels are mainly made from food crops and need large areas of land to be produced. Since most agricultural land is already being used to produce food for people, new areas have to be found to meet the ever-increasing demand for food and animal feed. This leads to deforestation and draining of rich ecosystems, releasing tonnes of greenhouse gases.