EU Biofuel Supply Chain Associations Reject European Council Proposal
by Sean Bartlett(Platts) A European Council proposal to amend the Renewable Energy Directive will fail to realize EU targets for greenhouse gas-saving emissions, lead to job losses, and reduce competitiveness across the agricultural and biofuels sectors, associations representing the biofuels supply chain said Monday.
The proposal, a compromise between EU member states with differing views on the matter, would satisfy none of the stakeholders in EU renewables policy, the group — which represents farmers, crushers, traders, and biofuels producers — said at a news conference.
The proposal by Lithuania, which holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will be discussed by energy and environment ministers December 12-13.
If passed, the associations said, the proposal would water down the EU’s overall target of 20% greenhouse gas emission savings by 2020, meaning NGO’s lobbying against biofuels on the basis they are bad for the environment would actually be losing out in the larger picture.
A number of different studies showing up to a 200% variation in the amount of emissions related to ILUC for biofuels has called the scientific basis of ILUC into question and led some policymakers to take a cautious approach. Other portions of the European Parliament, as well as environmental NGO’s remain firmly in favor of penalizing crop-based biofuels with ILUC ‘factors’ though.
Such penalties would be unfair not only because of the uncertainty surrounding the science but also because of an inconsistent approach in its application to policy, said the group.
“They do not take into account ILUC in many other policies,” said Peka Pesonen, secretary-general of Copa-Cogeca, which represents EU farmers and agri-cooperatives. A policy in which 5% of arable land must be left unused, was one such example, said Pesonen.
In addition, indirect advantages of biofuel production are underestimated in the proposal, he said, with the fact that 15-20% of European protein animal feed requirements are fulfilled by biofuel by-products in place of less sustainable imports left unaccounted for.
By-products from EU cereal crop-based biofuel production are up to three times more efficient in catering for protein needs than the equivalent imports from countries such as Brazil, leading to further emissions savings, he said. READ MORE