EU vote stalls 6 percent cap on 1st generation biofuels

By The European Biodiesel Board | October 18, 2013

The European Biodiesel Board, representing the main advanced and conventional biofuels industry in Europe, takes good note of the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) vote stopping a new attempt to come to hasty, emotional decisions on the indirect land-use change (ILUC) file.

 This vote comes as a result of growing concerns over emotionally pushed attempts to move an EU ILUC ruling forward. Months of excessive pressures to hurry up crucial decisions on EU industrial policy generated an opposite effect and the ENVI majority that supported Corinne Lepage’s report last July in ENVI has disappeared. “After the publication of up-to-date authoritative studies on ILUC, a widening range of decision makers supports a more prudent and open-minded approach,” said Raffaello Garofalo, secretary general of the European Biodiesel Board. “Even members of parliament close to Lepage realized that early second reading would not have provided sufficient time to assess the relevance of science used in policy,” he continued.

Recent scientific inputs have shown that further investment in research on ILUC modeling, elasticity and data is needed. By correcting yield assumptions, based on the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) historical trends and forecasts, the French institute on Agricultural research (INRA) concluded that ILUC factors for biodiesel would amount to around 10gCO2eq/MJ. This represents an 80 percent decrease compared to the fatal 55 grams set by the highly contested International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) findings and set in the current proposal. A Global Trade Analysis Project study performed by a U.S. scientific team of experts further estimated ILUC values to 2 grams due to accurate analysis of land conversion. Even the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) representatives are raising important doubts on legislative ruling based on ILUC modeling results, which show a room for incertitude of 300 percent among various studies.

EBB defends the interest of both the largest EU producers of advanced and conventional biodiesel. Our common wish is that this vote will open a new season where EU green industrial policy will not be subject to sudden U-turns based on emotional fears. We need to rethink ILUC and EU biofuels policy in a genuine international perspective, looking to U.S. and Brazilian approaches and to ISO indications. A mature and open confrontation on the real facts about ILUC will provide much more certainty to investors than last-minute attempts to get to hasty decisions. 


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