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  • European Commission’s biofuel proposals ‘met with scepticism’

European Commissions biofuel proposals met with scepticism

Mar 22 2013 Read 1264 Times

The European Commission’s proposal to further limit the amount of biofuel made from food crops has been met with scepticism by eminent ministers in the EU.

In October the Commission proposed to revise EU renewable energy legislation in order to stop biofuel production hindering the production of food crops.

It set out that biofuel derived from food crops or causing indirect land-use change (ILUC) would count for at most half of the ten per cent quota for renewable transport fuel. Other biofuels would be ‘second generation’ ones that do not come from ILUC or food crops.

However, officials are concerned that the rules are actually increasing the use of biofuel made from food crops, not to mention heightening food prices and seeing agriculture intensify in a way that is actually generating more greenhouse gases than the biofuel itself saves.

With this in mind, environment ministers were invited to consider reducing the limit further to five per cent - however, this was met with a lacklustre reaction by representatives from many nations.

Despite this, the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK are for restricting some biofules, and also want the EU to impose further restrictions using ILUC impact weightings as a guide.

UK climate and energy minister Ed Davey commented: “We've made a real mistake in the EU [on biofuels] and we've got to end that mistake, the sooner the better.”  

Meanwhile Danish energy minister Martin Lidegaard said the cap that is being considered should be lowered further from five per cent to four per cent.

On the other hand, Gunther Oettinger, European commissioner for energy, told ministers last month that the Commission is largely “flexible” when it comes to the cap. This indicates the Commission is unsure of its own stance on the issue.

In addition, certain delegations questioned the ‘multiple counting’ system that was put forth by the Commission in order to promote the use of various advance biofuels.

Posted by Claire Manning

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