EU Report Questions Conventional Biofuels’ Sustainability
(EurActiv) Conventional biofuels like biodiesel increase carbon dioxide emissions and are too expensive to consider as a long-term alternative fuel, a draft EU report says.
The study ‘EU Transport GHG [greenhouse gases]: Routes to 2050’ estimates that before indirect effects are counted, the abatement cost of reducing Europe’s emissions with biofuels is between €100-€300 per tonne of carbon.
At current market prices, this would make their CO2 reduction potential up to 49 times more expensive than buying carbon credits on the open market at €6.14 a tonne.
But the EU’s authors conclude that it “it is not possible (and useful) to determine cost effectiveness figures for [conventional] biofuels” because their indirect effect – measured in cleared forests and grasslands (‘ILUC’) – make it a CO2-emitting technology.
The latest report will feed a growing unease about the reasons for the EU’s original biofuels policy – justified in environmental terms – and the way it has developed since.
“The truth is that policy makers inside and outside Europe are doing biofuels for other reasons than environmental ones,” said David Laborde, a leading agricultural scientist and author of key biofuels reports for the European Commission.
“It’s a new and easy way to give subsidies to farmers, and it’s also linked to industrial lobbies that produce these biodiesels, and also what they will call energy security,” he told EurActiv.
…Claude Turmes, the European Parliament’s rapporteur responsible for steering the Renewable Energy Directive into law, said that business lobbies had influenced his negotiations with the then-French Presidency of the European Council.
“There were two lobbies, the sugar farmers lobby and the German car industry who tried to prevent the EU’s CO2 and cars legislation,” Turmes (Greens/Luxembourg) told EurActiv. READ MORE