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  • EU politicians are expected to disagree over biofuels

EU ministers expected to clash over biofuel limits

Feb 24 2013 Read 639 Times

European ministers are set to discuss biofuel limits, but opposing views on the matter indicate that it will not be easily resolved.

Energy ministers are meeting in Brussels today (February 22nd), and it is thought they will clash over a European Union (EU) proposal to limit the extent to which biofuel crops are permitted to displace food crops of cause increased carbon emissions through indirect land-use change (ILUC).

A number of member states, including the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark, want the EU to push further than the Commission has proposed.

However, states located in central and eastern Europe appear to be opposed to any revision that touches on ILUC, while France and Germany want the Commission's proposal to go ahead as it is now.

In EU legislation dating from 2008, member states promised they would be sourcing ten per cent of their transport fuel from renewable sources by the year 2020, with it being expected that most of this would come from biofuel.

However, it is thought that some types of biofuel are causing more harm to the environment than they are stopping because of the ILUC they trigger - for example, clearing forests in order to grow biofuel crops. Some studies have suggested that it is even driving up food prices.

With this in mind, the Commission proposed in October to review the legislation. The aim of this was that biofuel derived from food crops of causing land-use change could count towards half of the ten per cent renewable quota at the most.

Furthermore, the fuel-quality directive, which says that fuel producers must source at least six per cent of their products from renewable sources, must be revised in order to allow the companies to attach an ILUC factor to each of their fuels, it was proposed.

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