New UN Report Shows Food vs Fuel Fallacy
by Cindy Zimmerman (Energy.AgWired.com) A new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) finds that food prices declined for the fifth year in a row in 2016, down 1.5 percent from 2015. That included a steady decline in cereal prices- which includes maize or corn – which fell 9.6 percent from 2015 and were down 39 percent from their 2011 peak.
At the same time last year, the U.S. ethanol industry set records for both production and exports, and the final 2016 corn harvest is estimated at 15.1 billion bushels, 11% higher than 2015. READ MORE
Q&A: Tough EU Battle ahead for Ethanol Says ePURE
(Argus Media) Recently appointed secretary of the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE) Emmanuel Desplechin told Argus
the continent's ethanol industry is facing a crucial battle for survival. He said the EU should reverse European Commission (EC) proposals for a gradual phase-out of conventional biofuels towards 2030. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
How much political support is there for conventional biofuels?
We keep getting mixed messages and policy U-turns. Our priority is to enlighten policy-makers about the role of European ethanol in meeting vital EU climate and energy targets.
The EU seems to have abandoned conventional biofuels but still wants to move towards a bio-based economy. It says we should invest in second-generation biofuels and move to higher valued products like bio-plastics. We share the bioeconomy vision but need the economy of scale provided by fuel ethanol.
EU policy shouldn't discriminate against conventional biofuels, which are produced sustainably in the EU.
Are EU policy-makers likely to change the current policy direction?
Many of the clouds over the biofuels debate have cleared, such as food security and land-use issues. So there was no sound rationale in the EC's proposals
as to why conventional biofuels should be phased-out. If we get this message across then there is a chance policy-makers will allow more conventional biofuels to help achieve the EU's climate ambitions in transport.
There is no blending obligation for conventional biofuels, which are excluded regardless of their actual greenhose gas (GHG) savings.
There is a recognition in the EC's proposals of ethanol having high GHG emissions savings and low risk of indirect land use change (Iluc). But on the policy side, the EC leaves it up to member states to decide on a differentiation between ethanol and biodiesel.
The EC was actually tasked by member states and the parliament, in 2015, to identify biofuels with a low risk of Iluc and high GHG savings. The definitions are in the proposals. But what to we do in terms of policy support?
Should the EU differentiate between ethanol and biodiesel on the basis of GHG emissions?
The differentiation should not be between ethanol and biodiesel but instead where the feedstock is grown and whether its production is sustainable. READ MORE