The discussion about Europe’s biofuels policy is in full swing and the biofuels industry has assembled an impressive lobbying army to spread the gospel. Hardly a day goes by without the biofuels industry organising some event to promote the benefits of biodiesel and ethanol. This is a good indication of how important EU legislation is for biofuel producers. Indeed, growing crops and then turning them into fuels to burn in combustion engines is a costly and inefficient business. The truth is the biofuels industry was created and survives on generous and sustained support in the form of mandates, tax breaks and subsidies.
Despite industry’s desperate efforts to deny the impact of biofuels on food prices, a new study shows there is wide scientific consensus that biofuels policies increase global food prices. The analysis, conducted by consultancy Cerulogy for BirdLife Europe & Central Asia and Transport & Environment, reviews over 100 economic modelling studies of the impact on food prices because of increased demand for biofuels made from food crops.
Policies to promote food based biofuels do lead to increases in food prices, an extensive independent literature review has concluded. The analysis considered over one hundred economic modelling studies of the potential impact on prices of increased biofuel demand and over two dozen assessments of the role biofuels demand played in the 2006-08 food price crisis.
This is the seventh in a series of eight snippets about how to decarbonise land freight by 2050. Based on a new T&E study, the series will culminate in a public debate in Brussels on 27 September.
This is the fifth in a series of eight snippets about how to decarbonise land freight by 2050. Based on a new T&E study, the series will culminate in a public debate in Brussels in September.
The EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
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.
In November 2016 the Commission presented its new proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive in the 2021-2030 period. The main elements of the proposal on transport are to reduce the cap on food and feed-based biofuels to 3.8% in 2030 and to establish a mandate on fuel suppliers, requiring them to blend 6.8% of advanced fuels by 2030 (T&E’s position on biofuels in the RED can be found here).
Sustainable advanced biofuels can provide significant savings of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) compared to fossil fuels, without using productive agricultural land. The European Commission’s proposal on the Renewable Energy Directive II sets a specific sub-target for advanced biofuels. This briefing is an attempt to suggest a more realistic and sustainable target level for advanced biofuels in the new Renewable Energy Directive.