EU headed for imported oil dependency via backtrack on conventional biofuels

February 19, 2017 |

In the EU, Emmanuel Desplechin,  Secretary-General, ePure wrote in Politico Europe that “Europe needs more ambition if it wants to decarbonize transport. Europe needs a realistic mix of renewable energy solutions — including low-emission fuels such as sustainably produced and renewable European ethanol — if it wants to achieve its goal of decarbonizing EU transport.”

Desplechin adds that “the Commission wants to reduce the maximum contribution of conventional biofuels — one of the EU’s most effective tools for decarbonizing transport – from 7 percent of road transport energy in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2030. Road transport is currently 95 percent reliant on oil, and accounts for 20 percent of EU emissions.”

“We know what the outcome will be if this proposed policy is implemented: Europe will likely be more dependent on imported energy, and most likely not just on any energy but on oil.” Jan Koninckx, global business director biofuels, DuPont Industrial Biosciences

The Commission wants to promote advanced biofuels with its new proposal — an admirable goal of boosting a next-generation technology that processes agricultural residues and municipal waste, and that holds huge promise for building on today’s conventional ethanol. But as Koninckx pointed out, it will have a tough time succeeding if it undermines investor confidence in EU policy stability by backtracking on conventional biofuels.

The IEA’s Adam Brown also said it made no sense to make policy that discourages biofuels just because they’re made from crops. “What we should be talking about is the carbon benefit you can get from the land,” he said.

“There are partially and fully ‘food-based’ biofuels that are sustainable’ and are needed to help decarbonize the EU transport sector.” Karolina Skog, Sweden’s Minister for the Environment

The Commission’s own research proves that ethanol has a low risk of negative indirect land use change consequences and no negative impact on food prices. It is a beneficial biofuel that should be supported by future policy.

“If the EU’s goal is to promote fuels that have significant benefits for air-quality improvement and high greenhouse-gas savings, that fuel right now is ethanol,” said Eric Sievers, director investments, Ethanol Europe.

Why the EU shouldn’t backtrack on conventional biofuels

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Category: Policy

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