Europe is reforming its biofuels policy due to concerns raised about its impact on global land use change patterns and global food markets. The negative environmental impacts of the biofuels policy have been well demonstrated, but what is less clear are the economic implications. T&E, the EEB, BirdLife Europe and IISD have therefore funded this report to evaluate the costs and the benefits of the EU’s biofuels policy and its implications for the EU governments and citizens, who are currently facing economic hardship.
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.
Ahead of this Friday’s Ministerial Council meeting, a new study of the Dutch biofuels market published today by CE Delft reveals that a shift to biofuels with low indirect land-use change (ILUC)  emissions can significantly improve the environmental performance of biofuels sold on the market.
Under the Dutch biofuels obligation, fuel suppliers are required to include a minimum share of biofuels in their overall sales of road transport fuels: 4.25% in 2011 and 5% in 2012. From 2011 onwards they have also had to submit an annual report detailing the biofuels they sell on the Dutch market. The data from these various sources are then compiled by the Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa), which publishes a selection of the results.
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.
Europe can effectively replace oil with renewable energy in transport without resorting to harmful biofuels, according to a new report by Dutch research institute CE Delft , commissioned by environmental groups.
Putting EU green transport policy back on trackEuropean countries are ramping up biofuel use in an effort to meet their obligations under EU objectives to decarbonise energy in the transport sector. But green transport targets for 2020 in the renewable energy directive (RED) and fuel quality directive (FQD) have largely served to incentivise damaging technologies, in particular unsustainable “land-based 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.
Read about the key facts & figures on biofuels and the definition of ILUC, learn about their real-world consequences, and find out why these issues matter to YOU.