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EUROPEAN BIOFUELS REFORM ENDANGERED BY GROWING DISAGREEMENTS

According to a new report, advanced biofuel industry could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, but opposing positions in the European Parliament could endanger the success of biofuels reform.

The new International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) report states that creating biofuels from waste generated by industry, farms and households could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, save 37m tonnes of annual oil use and replace 16% of European’s road transport fuel by 2030. Advanced biofuels, which can come from agricultural residues, industrial waste, woody crops or algae, could also be used to replace first generations biofuels, which are produced by growing crops (such as rapeseed) and have been criticised for displacing food crops and increasing product prices.

As stated by the ICCT, a mandatory advanced biofuels goal is fundamental to give investors long-term signals, and Europe is required to put in place a policy framework that allows investment and progress in the area. An opportunity to fulfill these targets could originate from the vote that the European Parliament’s environment committee had to cast on a biofuels reform package; in fact, the new bill would impose a goal of advanced biofuels providing 1.25% of Europe’s transport fuel by 2020, introduce criteria to evaluate biofuels’ sustainability, and limit the amount of first generation biofuels that could be used to reach the EU’s 2020 goal of providing 10% of road transport fuel from low carbon sources.

However, disagreements within the European Parliament are decreasing the chances for the bill to become effective, and many industry figures are skeptical about the actual benefits of a reform such as the one that is being now discussed; among others, Eric Sievers, CEO of Ethanol Europe Renewables, underlines the unattractiveness of a large capital investment in a regulatory regime that expires 2020.

In any case, a rather efficient alternative to renewable targets could be represented by carbon intensity fuel standards or fiscal measures imposed by European states.

 

The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

(Source: Guardian)