EU Biofuels Target Dead, Long Live the Biofuels Target

rapeseed field photo

photo: trasroid via flickr

With the idea that most first generation biofuels really aren’t all their cracked up to be sinking in more deeply—competition with food, increased tropical deforestation and possible species extinction, some having increased net carbon emissions when compared to fossil fuels——the news that biofuel targets coming under fire in the EU should come as any surprise.

Earlier in the summer the then-incoming EU president went so far as to say that setting specific quota levels was a mistake. The focus should be first on determining how much fuel could be produced sustainably and then assessing how much fuel could be produced. Apparently that idea went by the boards as a reassessment of EU biofuel targets has just concluded and the results aren’t all that much different than what was in place before. Things Change, Things Stay the Same
Previously the biofuel target was 10% by 2020. While it still needs final approval, today the EU biofuels target remains at 10% by 2020, but with the condition that 40% of that should come from second-generation renewables. Both targets would be come up for mandatory review in 2014.

For transport fuels the target would be 5% by 2015, with a fifth of that from "new altenatives that do not compete with food production".

Industry Objects
Perhaps predictably—biofuels are big business and not charity after all—the European biofuel industry objected to the (slight) change. The International Herald Tribune quoted a representative of Neste Oil as saying that the original target should be supported so that the European industry as a whole has enough stability to grow over the next one to two decades.

While there is wisdom in that statement, I’m always advocating consistent renewables policy as a prerequisite for steady growth, considering the unintended environmental and social consequences of many first generation biofuels I don’t think amending the target is such a bad idea nor will it likely disrupt market growth in the one to two decades mentioned by Neste.

via :: IHT
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