EU signals U-turn in biofuels policy

Posted at September 24, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on EU signals U-turn in biofuels policy

European Union climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has signaled a U-turn in policy on biofuels, promising a cap on food-based biofuels.

The region currently has a target of 10% renewable transport fuels by 2020, but the policy has attracted criticism from environmental groups over the less than green credentials of some biofuels.

A recent report from charity group Oxfam indicated that the EU’s biofuel targets are driving up food prices, driving indirect land use change (ILUC) and putting millions at risk of hunger.

Now, however, according to leaked proposals, the EU will limit the target for food-derived biofuels to 5%, only just above the current levels of around 4.5%.

According to media reports, Hedegaard says she does not want to see an end to the existing biodiesel industry but wants to foster greater incentives for second- and third-generation biofuels based on waste or algae.

Support for food-based biofuels will, under the new proposals, end in 2020 and biofuels will only continue to receive support if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings.

Nusa Urbancic of lobby group Transport and Environment comments:
“It’s important that the Commission appears to be finally addressing the problem and discouraging further expansion of unsustainable biofuels. It will be attacked by the biofuels industry for doing this, but it must stand firm.”

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Related stories:
Lufthansa and Algae Tec to build biofuel production facility (24-Sept)
European biofuel targets are driving up food prices, warns Oxfam (18-Sept)
EC announces details of sustainable biofuel certification schemes (19-Jul 2011)

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