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Biofuels, land use and climate

Climate-damaging biofuels will continue to be promoted under new EU rules

The European Parliament voted to approve new EU rules on biofuels. The rules had originally aimed at curbing the negative impact on the climate associated with indirect land use change (ILUC) due to biofuel production and the problems associated with fuel crops but the Greens expressed concern that the final deal will fail to do so. After the vote, Green climate spokesperson Bas Eickhout said:

"These new rules will fail to address the myriad of problems with the EU's biofuels policy and, as a result, climate-damaging biofuels will continue to be promoted. Nobody should be fooled by this deal: it is a major missed opportunity.

"The new rules will allow a 7% share of land-based biofuels like food crops (first generation biofuels) in the overall fuel mix. Feeding crops into cars has fuelled rising food prices and rainforest destruction and the EU should not be further exacerbating these trends by promoting the use of agricultural land for fuel.  We should be shunning the use of food crops for fuel altogether but a 7% 'cap' is clearly too high and will allow for further increasing the large share of climate-damaging biofuels in our fuel mix.

“The crucial issue of emissions resulting from indirect land use change (ILUC) as part of biofuel production will also not be addressed. While fuel suppliers will have to report these ILUC emissions as part of the life-cycle emissions of fuels, this will not be taken into account in calculating the greenhouse gas emissions reductions towards the binding 6% decarbonisation target. This will mean that the excess greenhouse gases produced when land is converted to other uses because of biofuel production elsewhere will still be tolerated. The failure to include ILUC in the so-called 'sustainability criteria' for biofuels under the EU's renewable energy directive is a gap, which will enable these unsustainable biofuels to form part of the mix and fail to steer investments in the right direction. Europe's biofuel consumption will continue to lead to the destruction of tropical rainforests, with major greenhouse gas implications.”

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Bas Eickhout
Bas Eickhout

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