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Information about biofuels and bioenergy in Europe.


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  • Uncertainty still clouds future of EU biodiesel, 3 May 2012 by Reuters: "Senior European Union officials failed on Wednesday to agree on how to measure the full climate impact of biofuels, prolonging uncertainty in a debate that threatens to wipe out large parts of Europe's biodiesel industry...."
    • "The debate centred on a relatively new concept known as indirect land use change (ILUC)....
    • "By estimating the ILUC emissions associated with each specific crop, scientists concluded that most biodiesel currently used in Europe emits more carbon than conventional diesel...."
    • "The realisation that EU rules on ILUC could kill off much of Europe's estimated 13 billion euro biodiesel industry and undermine its climate goals led to paralysis within the Commission, while officials argued over whether current ILUC models were robust enough to warrant such drastic action."
    • "Biodiesel producers say there is too much uncertainty in the assumptions used to model ILUC emissions to justify immediate action, and that specific rules should be delayed for several years in favour of an indirect approach."[3]
  • Africa: Stop Human Rights Abuses Fuelled By EU Biofuels Policy, Says Actionaid, 25 April 2012 by ActionAid (London): "As the European Commission is given an opportunity to revise the EU's biofuels targets in 2012, a new ActionAid report reveals that the EU continues to ignore that its biofuels policies are driving up global food prices and pushing people in poor countries off their land."
    • "'Fuel for thought' highlights that increased demand for biofuels may push global food prices to crisis levels; EU's biofuels policies alone could push up oilseed prices by up to 33%, maize by up to 22%, sugar by up to 21% and wheat by up to 10%, between now and 20201."
    • "Laura Sullivan, ActionAid's Head of European Advocacy said: 'If it continues to ignore the impacts of its biofuels policy on people living in some of the poorest parts of the planet, the EU will effectively be sponsoring hunger and human rights abuses on a massive scale'."
  • "The ActionAid report, launched at a biofuels debate with participants from the European Commission, United Nations, NGOs and business, shows how a series of dodgy deals by European companies have led to mass displacements and rights abuses in countries in Africa and Latin America." [5]
  • EU report questions conventional biofuels' sustainability, 11 April 2012 by Euractiv: "Conventional biofuels like biodiesel increase carbon dioxide emissions and are too expensive to consider as a long-term alternative fuel, a draft EU report says."
    • "The study 'EU Transport GHG [greenhouse gases]: Routes to 2050' estimates that before indirect effects are counted, the abatement cost of reducing Europe’s emissions with biofuels is between €100-€300 per tonne of carbon."
    • "At current market prices, this would make their CO2 reduction potential up to 49 times more expensive than buying carbon credits on the open market at €6.14 a tonne."
    • "But the EU’s authors conclude that it 'it is not possible (and useful) to determine cost effectiveness figures for [conventional] biofuels' because their indirect effect - measured in cleared forests and grasslands ('ILUC') - make it a CO2-emitting technology."
    • "The latest report will feed a growing unease about the reasons for the EU's original biofuels policy - justified in environmental terms - and the way it has developed since...."
    • "Brussels is due to publish a proposal measuring the indirect emissions caused by biofuels later this year, distinguishing between low-emitting biofuels such as ethanol and high-emitting ones like biodiesel."
    • "But the EU’s decision-making process has been paralysed by the ongoing dispute between its energy directorate – which does not want ILUC factors considered – and its climate directorate, which does...."
    • "For now, the proposal remains stuck in the corridors of an EU that appears equally frightened of the political consequences of admitting a policy mistake and the environmental consequences of denying it."[6]
  • EU carbon target threatened by biomass 'insanity' 2 April 2012 by Arthur Neslen for EurActiv: "The EU's emissions reduction target for 2020 could be facing an unlikely but grave obstacle, according to a growing number of scientists, EU officials and NGOs: the contribution of biomass to the EU's renewable energy objectives for 2020."
    • "On 29 March, a call was launched at the European Parliament for Brussels to reconsider its carbon accounting rules for biomass emissions, and EurActiv has learned that the issue is provoking widespread alarm in policy-making circles."
    • "Around half of the EU's target for providing 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 will be made up by biomass energy from sources such as wood, waste and agricultural crops and residues, according to EU member states' national action plans... Wood makes up the bulk of this target and is counted by the EU as 'carbon neutral', giving it access to subsidies, feed-in tariffs and electricity premiums at national level."
    • "But because there is a time lag between the carbon debt that is created when a tree is cut down, transported and combusted – and the carbon credit that occurs when a new tree has grown to absorb as much carbon as the old one – biomass will increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the interim." [7]
  • Grandfathering options under an EU ILUC policy by Ecofys, March 2012: "The European Commission is expected to publish an Impact Assessment and legislative proposal on the issue of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) associated with biofuel production. The introduction of an ILUC policy measure in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) could impact current investments and jobs in the EU biofuel industry. Ecofys investigated on behalf of Transport&Environment to what extent the biofuel sector may need protection - so called 'grandfathering'- against the introduction of an EU policy measure.
    • "The report starts with an overview of the EU biofuels market and sector and analyses the impact of possible ILUC policy options on the sector and the level of protection of current investments and jobs that would be required. Subsequently, the report analyses the grandfathering clause as currently included in the RED and FQD as well as other possible grandfathering options."
    • "The study concludes that the introduction of an ILUC policy measure is possible while maintaining employment and paying back current investments in biofuel production installations if the 2010-2012 EU biofuel consumption level would be exempted from ILUC policy up to 2020. This means that an ILUC policy option would be targeted towards the future increase in biofuel production until 2020. The ILUC policy would not significantly reduce the total quantity of biofuels used in the EU because the RED and FQD 2020-targets will remain unchanged...." [8]
    • Read the full study here (PDF file)
  • Biofuels About More Than Climate 21 March 2012 by Alessandro Torello, (blog) for Wall Street Journal: "Biofuels have been heavily promoted in the European Union as the most straightforward way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from transport."
    • "Other ways of doing it are a more distant prospect. Electric cars are making a push, but are still some way from taking off, as are other innovative technologies. Biofuels, meanwhile, are perfectly compatible with combustion engines used today and are–more or less–readily available... They are considered greener than gasoline and [[diesel based on fossil fuels because their carbon dioxide emissions –just the same as regular fuels when burned in an engine–are offset by the plants that are grown to produce them."
    • "Now, however, a phenomenon called Indirect Land Use Change –or ILUC, in Brussels jargon– is calling into question their green credentials." [9]
  • ‘This must be the most researched subject in the EU’s history!’, 19 March 2012 by Nusa Urbancic for European Federation for Transport and Environment: "Two new reports are expected to put more pressure on the Commission over its biofuels policy. Both add to the growing bank of evidence that under current policies, changes in land use caused by growing biofuels crops will wipe out the climate benefits of using certain biofuels, especially in the case of biodiesel."
    • "One report on the cost-effectiveness of policies to decarbonise transport, due to be published by a group of consultancies later this month, says most models show that indirect land-use change (Iluc) will mean ‘a net increase of greenhouse gases’ for biodiesel. The other report, also still to be published, says that if biofuels’ lifecycle emissions, rather than just direct emissions, from Iluc are taken into account, the EU would achieve little more than half its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050." [10]
  • ANALYSIS-Biodiesel doubts threaten EU green transport targets, 5 March 2012 by Charlie Dunmore and Ivana Sekularac, in Sharenet: "Growing consensus that EU may miss 2020 biofuel targets... Demand for biodiesel threatened by land use change studies... Switch to bioethanol seen as unlikely to make up shortfall."
    • "The European Union will almost certainly miss its 2020 targets for cutting transport fuel emissions if policymakers act on scientific warnings about the climate impact of biofuels."
    • "Several EU studies have questioned the climate benefits of biodiesel made from European rapeseed and imported palm oil and soybeans, and some have warned that it releases as many climate-warming emissions as conventional diesel."
    • "With two-thirds of EU biofuel use in 2020 projected to come from biodiesel, there is a growing consensus that any move to exclude some biodiesel feedstocks, such as the U.S. has proposed in the case of palm oil, would put the goals out of reach. Even if Europe tried to boost its use of bioethanol and advanced biofuels from non-crop sources to make up the shortfall, technical barriers and the EU's rising thirst for diesel would still leave it short of the mark." [11]
  • ILUC: The ‘Soap’ Continues, 5 March 2012 by Robert Vierhout, Secretary-general of ePURE, in Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Contrary to the USA where the U.S. EPA managed to get some indirect land use change (ILUC) values out of a black box relatively quickly, the EU is progressing slowly in ‘solving’ ILUC. For already more than two years, the European Commission services have been deliberating what to do."
    • "In my opinion, the delay in putting a bill on the table is caused by the fact that the ILUC ‘science’ is simply not conclusive. A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute assessing ILUC caused by biofuel policy does not seem to convince everyone within the commission that indirect land use change is more than just an imaginary problem...."
    • "The latest compromise under discussion by the commission services would allocate an ILUC value differentiated by crop (vegetable oil, sugar and starch) to biofuels to be used to achieve the target set in the law on fuel quality...."
    • "If countries in Southeast Asia can no longer, due to this ILUC value, export their palm oil to the EU, they will find other markets, most likely closer to home. A leakage effect would occur. If, as a result, the EU produces less biofuel, would we then not even need to import more biofuels to compensate for the lower GHG saving? More imports, more risk of unwanted land use change? Finally, we would not be addressing the problem where it is occurring: outside Europe."
    • "A more effective way to prevent unwanted land use changes leading to higher carbon release is by concluding agreements with the countries that are exporting biofuels to Europe. These agreements should restrict or forbid imports of certain biofuels unless proper land management is guaranteed."[12]
  • Biodiesel doubts threaten EU green transport targets, 5 March 2012 by Reuters: "The European Union will almost certainly miss its 2020 targets for cutting transport fuel emissions if policymakers act on scientific warnings about the climate impact of biofuels."
    • "Several EU studies have questioned the climate benefits of biodiesel made from European rapeseed and imported palm oil and soybeans, and some have warned that it releases as many climate-warming emissions as conventional diesel...."
    • "If the EU penalises crop-specific biofuels for their estimated ILUC emissions, any incentive for governments and oil firms to promote biodiesel from rapeseed, palm oil and soybeans would disappear...."
    • "The Commission has already drafted two compromise proposals on ILUC without reaching an agreement on either, reflecting deep internal divisions on the issue."
    • "The deal now under discussion would penalise biofuels for their crop-specific ILUC emissions in the fuel quality law but not the renewable energy directive, removing the incentive for oil companies to buy biodiesel without excluding it entirely...."[13]
  • Airbus urges EU to scrap biodiesel incentives for road transport, 16 February 2012 by EurActive: "The EU should bin incentives for road-transport biodiesel or provide equal ones for the production of biokerosene used in airplanes, a senior Airbus executive has told EurActiv."
    • "'We are asking for a level playing field or the scrapping of incentives that cover the biodiesel industry,'said Paul Nash, the Airbus head of environment and new energies."
    • "Biodiesel, which is primarily used in road transport, may eventually be deemed one of the ‘worst performing biofuels’ with leaked EU data putting its emissions on a par with those from tar sands, when ILUC effects are counted."
    • "Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency also ruled palm oil-based biodiesel inadmissible for its Renewable Fuel Standard Program, because it did not meet the minimum 20% lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reduction threshold needed to qualify. Such valuations have in turn fuelled complaints about the incentives that road-based biodiesels proportionately receive in Europe, as a result of the EU’s target to power 10% of its transport system with renewable energies by 2020."
    • “'All of the incentives today in Europe are focused on the production of biodiesel and there are no incentives in terms of aviation,' Nash told EurActiv, referring to the increasing competition for biofuels between the two transport sectors."
    • "Industry insiders argue airlines should be given priority access to sustainable biofuels as aviation will continue to rely on liquid fuels for decades. Road transport, by contrast, has already started its transition to electricity, something that airlines simply cannot do." [14]
  • EU energy chief against higher biofuel target for now, 7 February 2012 by AlertNet: "The EU's energy chief said on Tuesday for now he was opposed to raising the bloc's 10 percent biofuel target due to environmental concerns and urged the bloc to agree 2030 energy goals within two years."
    • "On the biofuel target, he told a conference: 'If I had to decide today, I would reject a proposal to go beyond 10 percent (on biofuels). The whole question of sustainability has to be addressed.'"
    • "The European Union has a binding target to raise the share of renewable energy in road transport to 10 percent by the end of the decade, almost all of which is expected to be met by blending biofuels with conventional fuels."
    • "The EU executive is grappling with the question of how to regulate the unintended environmental consequences of biofuel production and has repeatedly delayed legislative proposals due last year on indirect land use change (ILUC)." [15]
  • Biofuel feedstocks must prove their green credentials, 12 January 2012 by Farmers Weekly: "Under the Renewable Energy Directive, which recently came into effect in the UK, mandatory sustainability and carbon targets have been set for all biofuels sold in Europe."
    • "This complex regulation requires biofuel manufacturers to demonstrate that the feedstocks they use comply with minimum land sustainability standards and give at least a 35% greenhouse gas emissions saving over their fossil fuel equivalent."
    • "The introduction of a 'sustainability' declaration on grain passports last season, combined with updates to the Red Tractor crops designed to address the RED land sustainability requirement by guaranteeing crops are not grown on land with a high biodiversity value or high carbon value (eg peat land) and that the land meets cross-compliance requirements."
    • "But it is the GHG saving requirement of the RED that has generated some concern, because of the use of 'default values' when calculating the total carbon footprint of different feedstocks, says Ian Waller of Fivebargate consultants...."
    • "Regional carbon footprint numbers for different crops are defined in official reports for each country - the UK calculations were done for the Department for Transport by consultancy AEA. But this report (known as NUTS2) suggests only a few areas of the UK have a lower GHG footprint than the required RED threshold for oilseed rape, none of which are in prime arable regions. This casts a question mark over how easily oilseed rape from such regions could go into biofuel markets in the future, Mr Waller says."[16]


  • Call for an effective implementation of the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) issue in the EU biofuels policy, 21 December 2011 by E-Energy Market: "A group of companies, trade associations and NGOs have send a letter to the commission that a practical and effective solution are needed to address the ongoing debate about Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) in European biofuels policy."
    • "The group warns that it blocks 1)Meeting EU renewables targets, 2)Helping to deliver energy security, 3)Fostering rural economic development and, 4)Developing a sustainable bioenergy system that can help towards decarbonising transport in Europe and beyond."
    • "The companies also fear the ILUC policy is counterproductive in its exclusion of certain feedstocks. The effects of banning one feedstock would lead to an increased demand of the alternative feedstock and herewith increasing the need for land."
    • "The group claims that none one of policy options being assessed encourage producers to adopt additional practices that reduce ILUC risks, nor do they improve investor confidence for biofuel development."[17]
  • RSPO Seeks to Certify Indonesian Crude Palm Oil, 23 November 2011 by Jakarta Globe: "The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil aims to certify 3 million tons of Indonesian crude palm oil as sustainable, up 50 percent from this year’s original target of 2 million."
    • "Green campaigners say palm plantations are some of the biggest threats to the sustainability of rainforests in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, which produce 85 percent of the world’s supply of the commodity."
    • "A producer’s CPO can be certified if it can demonstrate that the production process does not cause undue harm to the environment or society."
    • "Worldwide demand for CPO is around 45 million tons, with the biggest markets in India, China and Europe."
    • "Indonesia’s Palm Oil Association (Gapki) in October withdrew its membership from RSPO, saying it would focus on helping to develop the government-backed sustainability scheme."[18]
  • Advanced Biofuels Required for UK to See RED, 17 November 2011 by Waste Management World: "The UK is at risk of missing its renewable transport targets without significant investment in a new generation of biofuels, according to a recently published government study."
    • "Under the EU's Renewable Energy Directive (RED), member states will be required to meet 10% of the energy used for road and rail transportation from renewable sources by 2020."
    • "Currently, most of the country's renewable fuel is derived from vegetable oils. However, due to limited availability and competing demands for sustainable vegetable oils, the study argues that conventional biofuels are likely to produce just 3.7% to 6.6% of the required 10% target."
    • "In assessing the how and if the UK will meet the Eu target, NNFCC drew up two illustrative scenarios to examine how the industry could develop in the UK."
    • "Under a modest development scenario, and assuming that advanced biofuels produced from waste feedstocks are eligible to count double towards the RED, advanced biofuel production in the UK could contribute 2.1%age points toward the UK's 10% renewable fuels in transport target."
    • "Under the same assumptions, with favourable economic conditions and strong improvements in policy, a strong development scenario could see advanced biofuels produced from waste and lignocellulosic feedstocks could contribute 4.3% points toward the UK's 10% renewable fuels in transport target."[19]
  • EU biofuel target seen driving species loss: study, 16 November 2011 by Reuters: "A European Union target to promote the use of biofuels will accelerate global species loss because it encourages the conversion of pasture, savanna and forests into new cropland, EU scientists have warned."
    • "The finding raises fresh doubts over the benefits of biofuels, which were once seen as the most effective way of cutting road transport emissions, but whose environmental credentials have increasingly been called into question."
    • "The scale of species loss in areas converted into new cropland could be more than 80 percent, the scientists from the European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC) said in a newly published report."
    • "One of the report's authors stressed that the finding was based on a preliminary analysis of the issue and that more research was needed to accurately quantify the likely impact on biodiversity caused by the EU's biofuel mandate."
    • "Modeling exercises carried out by IFPRI and others have also suggested that the land use impacts of the EU target -- both direct and indirect -- could wipe out most of the predicted emissions saving from biofuels."[20]
  • EU biofuels industry in denial over CO2 error, 15 November 2011 by Commodities Now: "The European Union wants bio-energy use to rise by more than half by 2020 arguing that the energy source is carbon neutral: the trouble is it isn't, and the target should in fact be scrapped."
    • "Yet carbon emissions from burning bio-energy are actually often higher than for fossil fuels, while being deemed zero carbon under emissions trading rules and low-carbon in renewable energy targets."
    • "A European Environment Agency (EEA) panel of scientists two months ago in a note said: 'The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense'."
    • "The error originally arose in the 1992 U.N. Climate Convention where bio-energy emissions were categorised under land use instead of energy, says Princeton University's Timothy Searchinger."
    • "But under Kyoto, countries didn't have to account for land-use emissions in their emission targets, and so CO2 from bio-energy disappeared from such accounting altogether."
    • "So while bio-energy from plants still has a role as an alternative energy source, it should not be supported in renewable or low-carbon targets any more than fossil fuels. It does makes sense to continue to support making energy from waste products including food, animal and sawmill waste."[21]
  • E.U. plans probe of U.S. bioethanol subsidies: diplomats, 15 November 2011 by Reuters: "The European Union's trade authority plans to start an investigation into whether U.S. bioethanol exporters are receiving unfair state subsidies and selling their fuel to Europe at illegally low prices, diplomats said on Tuesday."
    • "The European Commission investigation could result in import tariffs as early as next year on hundreds of millions of litres of the fuel if EU officials unearth evidence of unfair trade practices in the United States."
    • "Specifically, trade officials will investigate EU industry allegations that tax credits in the United States allow its exporters to cut their EU selling price by about 40 percent, the diplomats said."
    • "U.S. producers defend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, which provides a 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit to ethanol blenders, as essential to propping up a fledgling industry."
    • "The U.S.-based Renewable Fuels Association has dismissed any action that aims to penalise the scheme, saying it is likely to run out anyway by the end of this year."[22]
  • Large differences in the climate impact of biofuels, 15 November 2011 by EurekAlert: "The use of bioenergy may affect ecosystem carbon stocks, and it can take anything from 2 to 100 years for different biofuels to achieve carbon dioxide neutrality."
    • "The use of bioenergy affects ecosystem carbon stocks over time in either a positive or negative way. Biofuels where the combustion related emissions are compensated rapidly have a lower climate impact than fuels for which it takes a long time for the emissions to be compensated."
    • "Despite this, the difference in climate impacts between slow and rapid biofuels is rarely highlighted in political contexts. Emissions from bioenergy are, for example, not included in countries' commitments under the Kyoto Protocol."
    • "If environmental legislation, for instance the EU renewables directive, requires that climate benefits of biofuels are calculated over a 20 year period, biofuels that need longer time to reach carbon neutrality may be regarded as not renewable."[23]
  • Biofuel Expansion Picks Up Pace, 8 November 2011 by "The first transatlantic flight powered by biofuel, a Gulfstream G450 corporate jet that travelled from New Jersey to Paris in June of this year, used a 50-50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based jet fuel."
    • "The flight was estimated to have saved approximately 5.5 tons of net carbon dioxide emissions compared to the same flight powered by fossil fuel, and was hailed as a promising step toward helping the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint."
    • "Global biofuel production is also taking flight, climbing by 17 percent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program."
    • "Breaking down Worldwatch Institute figures reveals that the world produced some 86 billion litres of ethanol in 2010, 18 percent more than in 2009 while global biodiesel production rose to 19 billion litres in 2010, a 12 percent increase from 2009."
    • "Sugarcane-derived ethanol supplies 41.5 percent of the energy (48 percent of the volume) for light-duty transportation fuels in Brazil."
    • "The report further stated that the EU remained the centre of biodiesel production, accounting for 53% of global output in 2010. Growth slowed there dramatically, however, falling from 19 percent in 2009 to just two percent in 2010."[24]
  • Tanzania: Rising Food Prices Affect Biofuel Projects, 24 October 2011 by "United States Department of Agriculture Chief Advisor for Government, Academia and Industry Partnership, Cindy Smith and Deputy Coordinator for Feed the Future Initiative, Tjada McKenna argued last week that use of corn in biofuel manufacturing to drive vehicles consumes less than one per cent of the country's annual production."
    • "Both the US and EU adopted energy policies between 2008 and 2010 which targets to source up to 20 per cent of their energy needs from renewable sources."
    • "In its recent report titled, 'Meal per gallon,' an international charity, ActionAid estimated that the EU plan to source 10 per cent of transport fuels from biofuels would increase competition for agricultural lands and spur a sharp rise in food prices."
    • "The report argues that cropland expansion (17.5 million hectares will be needed in developing countries to meet the EU's 10 per cent target) will come at the expense of tropical forests and peatlands, worsening climate change."[25]
  • Biofuels growth stifled by EU policy delays: BP, 18 October 2011 by Reuters: "Biofuels for use in transport are becoming more competitive compared with oil but the pace of growth has slowed due to a lack of regulation and sustainability standards in Europe, the chief executive of BP's biofuels division said."
    • "'In the UK, biofuels get no tax breaks whatsoever. The biggest obstacle (to biofuel growth) is uncertainty around the future of mandates and clear (European Union) sustainability standards,' Philip New of BP Biofuels told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday."
    • "EU policymakers are currently debating the green credentials of some biofuels and should present proposals for approval by EU governments and lawmakers before the end of the year. However, legislation might not emerge for several years."
    • "Critics say some biofuels production can occupy land that would otherwise be used for agricultural purposes, thus limiting food and water resources for a rapidly rising world population."
    • "Some biofuel production could also increase carbon emissions, especially if rainforests are cut down to facilitate production."[26]
  • Scheme for Mitigating Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) Risks in the Use of Biofuels Proposed, 14 October 2011 by "The risk associated with 'Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) Risk' in the production and use of biofuels has been a contentious issue in the assessment of biofuels sustainability."
    • "The European Energy Review website mentions a report published by Ernstand Young, (and commissioned by a consortium of industry/NGO partners) which aimed to: (1) establish the facts surrounding the issue of ILUC by examining existing literature, and (2) investigate 'issues concerning implementation of practical ILUC mitigation measures and their effectiveness in biofuels production'."
    • "The report indicated that 'indirect land use change (ILUC) risks can be mitigated by incentives that encourage existing and additional sustainable practices in biofuels production, as well as other sectors that use agricultural commodities'."
    • "The proposal involves the application of an 'ILUC mitigation credit scheme', which could work alongside with, and remain subject to the existing polices of the EU Renewable Energy Directive."[27]
  • “Not the right time to call for more idle agricultural land,” warns biofuels association, 14 October 2011 by Renewable Energy Magazine: "ePURE is deeply concerned about the European Commission’s plans to set-aside 7% of EU agricultural land as 'ecological focus areas', in effect marking the reintroduction of the EU's set-aside policy."
    • "Initially intended to curb agricultural surpluses, mandatory set-aside has been abolished in 2009 against the backdrop of soaring soft commodity prices. In the light of a global food crisis in 2008, the EU could no longer afford to keep arable land out of production."
    • "This new set-aside proposal comes in addition to the continuous land idling in Europe, which already leads to a substantial loss of agricultural land in the EU."
    • "In parallel the Commission reflects on possible policy measures to hedge against potential indirect land use change (ILUC) effects of biofuels production. As the ILUC debate boils down to the availability of enough arable land to fulfill our needs now and in the future, the proposal shows a clear lack of consistency between the different EU policies."
    • "The solution to both the ILUC debate and the quest for an environmentally more sustainable agriculture lies in the enlargement of the scope of binding sustainability criteria."[28]
  • EU to establish full carbon emissions, 13 October 2011 by IOL Scitech: "The European Union's efforts to establish the full carbon emissions from burning bio-energy is an all but impossible task which illustrates the difficulty of trying to cut humankind's environmental impact, which first has to be measured."
    • "But a fuller measure of carbon emissions is important, even an inaccurate number beats ignoring the issue, especially given the lessons from a related food versus fuel battle which sparked a global backlash against liquid biofuels three years ago"
    • "In a world of limited land and a growing population decisions taken in Europe can cause farmers to wield chainsaws in a tropical rainforest."
    • "Qualification for support payments and numerical targets is conditional on liquid biofuels cutting carbon emissions by at least 35 percent compared with gasoline and diesel under the EU's Renewable Energy Directive, rising to 60 percent from 2018."
    • "But the rule only applies to direct emissions, not so-called indirect land use change (ILUC), where some bio-energy displaces grazing and food crops, driving carbon emissions from causing land to be ploughed up elsewhere."[29]
  • Biodiesel industry rejects EU land use impact study, 7 October 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's biodiesel industry rejected the findings of a draft EU study showing that the cultivation of rapeseed to make road transport fuels is worse for the climate than using conventional diesel."
    • "The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) said on Friday the study's central finding -- that the effects of indirect land use to produce most types of biodiesel cancel out any theoretical emissions savings -- was 'highly debatable and unscientific.'"
    • "A series of leaked EU studies showed that biodiesel from European rapeseed, South American soy beans and Asian palm oil all have a greater overall climate impact that normal diesel."
    • "If the Commission follows the advice contained in the studies and penalizes individual biofuel crops on the basis of their estimated ILUC emissions, it could wipe out the bloc's 13 billion euro ($17.5 billion) biodiesel industry overnight."
    • "It would also give a boost to ethanol producers such as Spain's Abengoa and increase the market for fuels derived from Brazilian sugar cane as the EU seeks to fill the 80 percent gap in its biofuel market currently occupied by biodiesel."[30]
  • European biofuels target condemned by leading US scientists, 7 October 2011 by The Guardian: "Over 100 top scientists and economists have written to the European commission calling for indirect land use change (ILUC) to be accounted for in EU biofuels policy making."
    • "The letter, seen by EurActiv, argues that assigning biofuels a zero or 'carbon neutral' emissions value – as the EU has done – 'is clearly not supported by the [best available] science'."
    • "Because of 'flawed' accounting conventions, 'the European Union's target for renewable energy in transport may fail to deliver genuine carbon savings in the real world,' the scientists argue."
    • "Since 2008, EU member states have been obliged to raise the share of biofuels in the energy mix to 10% by 2020."
    • "But recent reports by the European Environment Agency and four other EU agencies have questioned whether meeting the EU's target would cut any CO2 emissions at all."
    • "But because of 'scientific uncertainties,' the Commissioners decided to introduce a contested 'threshold' measurement of CO2 savings until 2018 that would not penalise individual biofuels emissions."[31]
  • Carbon credits tarnished by human rights 'disgrace', 3 October 2011 by EurActiv: "The reported killing of 23 Honduran farmers in a dispute with the owners of UN-accredited palm oil plantations in Honduras is forcing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive board to reconsider its stakeholder consultation processes."
    • "In Brussels, the Green MEP Bas Eickhout called the alleged human rights abuses 'a disgrace', and told EurActiv he would be pushing the European Commission to bar carbon credits from the plantations from being traded under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)."
    • "But because they took place after the CDM's stakeholder consultations had been held, and fell outside the board's primary remit to investigate emissions reductions and environmental impacts, it had been powerless to block project registrations."
    • "Last week, proposals were submitted to a CDM board meeting in Quito, Ecuador, addressing the time-lag between project consultations and registrations. But carbon credits from the plantations can still be freely traded on the EU ETS, which allows polluters to offset their carbon emissions by nominally clean energy investments."[32]
  • Brussels slammed for bad science on biofuels, 27 September 2011 by Euractiv: "Several environmental NGOs have written to the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, demanding action on five scientific studies that question the clean energy benefits of biofuels, as a row over a land use report by the EU's scientific advisors escalates."
    • "...[T]he letter cites five world-class studies for the EU which, it says, all agree that the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) effects of biofuels 'could not only negate the expected carbon savings, but even lead to an increase in emissions.'"
    • The most recent, a report by the scientific committee of the European Environment Agency (EEA) slammed the official EU policy that biofuels are 'carbon neutral' as a 'serious accounting error' with 'immense' potential consequences."
    • "The letter's signatories include ActionAid, Birdlife, ClientEarth, European Environmental Bureau, Oxfam, Transport and Environment and Wetlands International."
    • "The science involved in the report is of crucial importance. On Page 8, the EEA report cites the IEA as saying that biofuels could provide 20% of the world’s energy by 2050, and the UNFCCC claiming that bioenergy could supply 800 exajoules of energy per year (EJ/yr)."
    • "But today's entire global cultivatable land for food, feed, fibre and wood only has a chemical energy value of 230 (EJ/yr), just over a quarter of that figure."[33]
    • Download the NGO letter (PDF file)
  • Questioning Europe's Math on Biofuels, 25 September 2011 by The New York Times: "Much of the appeal of generating energy from plants was that they emit only as much carbon when burned in cars and power plants as they absorb while growing."
    • "It turns out that the emissions from growing and processing some biofuels significantly diminish their benefits, when taking into account factors like the use of fertilizers manufactured with fossil fuels."
    • "Concerns have also grown that large swaths of forest and grassland will be chopped down or burned to grow fuel crops — and to grow food that has been displaced by growing fuel crops elsewhere — thereby releasing additional stocks of carbon into the atmosphere."
    • "The Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency said the European Union had committed a 'serious accounting error' by failing to measure how much additional carbon dioxide was absorbed by existing fields, forests and grasslands, compared with that absorbed by energy crops."
    • "Bioenergy, including the burning of wood to produce electricity, would meet about half of the overall renewable energy target under national plans, while biofuels would provide the majority of renewable transport fuels."[34]
  • ‘Serious’ Error Found in Carbon Savings for Biofuels, 14 September 2011 by the New York Times Green Blog: "The European Union is overestimating the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved through reliance on biofuels as a result of a 'serious accounting error,' according to a draft opinion by an influential committee of 19 scientists and academics."
    • "The European Environment Agency Scientific Committee writes that the role of energy from crops like biofuels in curbing warming gases should be measured by how much additional carbon dioxide such crops absorb beyond what would have been absorbed anyway by existing fields, forests and grasslands."
    • "Instead, the European Union has been 'double counting' some of the savings, according to the draft opinion, which was prepared by the committee in May and viewed this week by The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times."
    • "The committee said that the error had crept into European Union regulations because of a 'misapplication of the original guidance' under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."
    • "'The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense since it assumes that all burning of biomass does not add carbon to the air,' the committee wrote."
    • "The commission already is agonizing over how much to tighten the rules on biofuels to curb a phenomenon called indirect land use change, in which areas containing high stores of carbon dioxide, like grasslands, peat lands or forests, are stripped to produce food crops."[35]
  • European biofuels given reprieve, report suggests, 12 September 2011 by Farmers Guardian: "THE European Union’s top climate and energy officials have agreed to delay rules which would penalise individual biofuels for their indirect climate impacts, Reuters news agency is reporting."
    • "The political compromise is designed to protect EU farmers’ incomes and existing investments in the biofuel sector, while discouraging new investments in biofuels which do nothing to fight climate change."
    • "At issue is indirect land use change (ILUC), which states if you divert food crops to biofuel production, someone, somewhere, will go hungry unless those missing metric tons of grain are grown elsewhere."
    • "If the crops to make up the shortfall are grown on new farmland created by cutting down rainforests or draining peat land, this can release enough climate-warming emissions to cancel out any theoretical emission savings from biofuels."
    • "The July agreement would delay crop-specific rules on ILUC in favor of an indirect approach that penalises all biofuels equally.This involves raising the carbon-savings threshold that all biofuels must meet compared with conventional fossil fuel to count toward the EU’s target, which aims to raise the share of biofuel in road transport fuels to about 10 percent in 2020."[36]
  • EU to delay action on biofuels' indirect impact, 8 September 2011 by Reuters: "The European Union's top climate and energy officials have agreed to delay by up to seven years rules that would penalize individual biofuels for their indirect climate impacts, details of the deal showed."
    • "The political compromise is designed to protect EU farmers' incomes and existing investments in the bloc's 17 billion euro-a-year ($24 billion) biofuel sector, while discouraging new investments in biofuels that do nothing to fight climate change."
    • "At issue is an emerging concept known as indirect land use change (ILUC), which states that if you divert food crops to biofuel production, someone, somewhere, will go hungry unless those missing metric tons of grain are grown elsewhere."
    • "If the crops to make up the shortfall are grown on new farmland created by cutting down rainforests or draining peat land, this can release enough climate-warming emissions to cancel out any theoretical emission savings from biofuels."
    • "The July agreement would delay crop-specific rules on ILUC in favor of an indirect approach that penalizes all biofuels equally."
    • "This involves raising the carbon-savings threshold that all biofuels must meet compared with conventional fossil fuel to count toward the EU's target, which aims to raise the share of biofuel in road transport fuels to about 10 percent in 2020."
    • "By sending a clear message that ILUC factors will be introduced in the future, the Commission said its approach would help to 'phase out the worst performing biofuels and to prevent further investments in unsustainable biofuels.'"
    • "The Commission is expected to present formally its ILUC proposals in the coming months, after which EU governments and the European Parliament will have a limited time in which to raise any objections."[37]
  • ILUC and the Food Versus Fuel Paradox, 11 August 2011 by Biomass Hub: "Indirect land use change (ILUC) is based on the premise that there may be unintended consequence associated with the expansion of croplands for ethanol or biodiesel production in response to increased global demand for biofuels, including the destruction of “virgin” lands and a corresponding release of carbon emissions."
    • "The ILUC backlash is inimical to the global expansion of biofuels as a traded commodity, as was seen in the EU’s most recent debate during a rework of its Renewable Energy Directive."
    • "Managing public perception, and more importantly, expectations, is key to expanding biofuels production worldwide to offset a much more worrisome public policy issue, petroleum dependence."
    • "Like ILUC, the food versus fuel debate exploded on the scene in 2008 as food prices around the world skyrocketed. In truth, the causes are complex and attributed to a web of factors. To attribute increases in food prices to the use of biofuels alone is both misleading and irresponsible."
    • "As we transition into the “Post Oil Age,” the ILUC and food versus fuel debates continue to constrain progress towards more sustainable fuels made from biomass. Although not necessarily a bad thing in all cases, the debate obscures the reality that all biofuels are not created equal."[38]
  • EBB slams EU thinking on biofuel land use impacts, 5 August 2011 by Argus Media: "Europe's biodiesel producers have commissioned an independent review of a policy document on biodiesel's indirect effects on land use change, which the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) maintains has skewed the European Commission's thinking on the subject to the detriment of the European biodiesel industry."
    • The commission has yet to define its methodology for gauging the possibility that diverting additional land to agriculture to feed biofuels demand could be increasing carbon emissions, an issue commonly referred to by the acronym ILUC. But several reports commissioned by the EU, which were subsequently leaked, have suggested incorporating ILUC into carbon calculation methodologies could have a negative impact on biodiesel made from virgin vegetable oils."
    • "In particular, EBB criticises [an] IFPRI report for underestimating the positive impact of increased oilseeds production in increasing animal feed production, containing flawed calculations on the amount of substitution between vegetable oils — which occurs in the EU market — and failing to include improvements in agricultural productivity among its calculations."
    • "EBB has commissioned Dr Don O'Connor of (S&T)² Consultants and Professor Gernot Klepper of the Kiel Institute for World Economy, to perform a critical review of the IFPRI study. The EBB expects to present its findings in September, when the college of commissioners will consider the findings of the commission's ILUC impact assessment. "[39]
  • Report Links Biofuels With Food Prices, 4 August 2011 by The Wall Street Journal: "For years, commentators have blamed Asia’s rapidly-expanding middle class for pushing up the cost of food and creating markets so volatile prices have spiked to record levels two times in four years."
    • "But according to new research for the United Nations’ food body, the increasing diversion of grain and oilseeds to create fuel—particularly in the U.S. and Europe, which spend an estimates $8 billion a year supporting their biofuel industries—has had a far greater effect."
    • "In contrast to mainstream belief, it argues that without biofuels, the rate of feed consumption in everywhere but the Soviet Union (whose livestock industry is still recovering from a collapse under Communism) is actually slowing—despite the jump in demand for meat in Asia."
    • "Because of this, the report finds that 'limiting the use of food to produce biofuel is the first objective to be pursued to curb demand.' Those that are used should be produced 'where it is economically, environmentally and socially feasible to do so, and traded more freely,' it adds."[40]
  • Biofuels Mandates Around the World, 21 July 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "In Florida, the Digest today releases its annual review of biofuels mandates and targets around the world, looking at the state of biofuels mandates in 52 countries around the world."
    • "The bulk of mandates comes from the EU-27, where the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) specifies a 10 percent renewables content by 2020 across the entire membership – though 7 percent of that will come from biofuels, the balance from the electrification of the fleet. The other 21 countries are primarily in Asia."
    • "Besides the EU, the major blending mandates that will drive global demand are those set in the US, China and Brazil – each of which has set targets – or, in the case of Brazil, is already there – at levels in the 15-20 percent range by 2020-2022."
    • "The major biofuels mandates – with some estimates of 2020 consumption, translate into the major drivers of the 60 billion gallons of global biofuels demand that are widely discussed, without addressing the demand for aviation, or the mandates in place in countries such as Canada, Australia, or throughout Southeast Asia."[41]
  • EU gets tough on dirty biofuel, pledges more action, 19 July 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's energy chief announced seven green certification schemes for biofuels on Tuesday and promised in future to tackle the unwanted side-effects of turning food into fuel."
    • "Guenther Oettinger said biofuels' indirect impacts were dangerous for the planet's carbon balance and food supply."
    • "The European Union agreed three years ago to get 10 percent of its road fuels from biofuels -- at a time when such fuels were widely regarded as good for the environment -- but since then controversy has raged in Europe over the target."
    • "Oettinger took a first step toward limiting biofuels' impact on the environment on Tuesday, launching a green standard to prevent companies from clearing forest, peatlands or grassland to grow biofuels for the European market."
    • "Critics say the EU's biofuel target creates an incentive for farmers to hack directly into forests to create space to grow fuel crops -- known as direct land use change."
    • "But they also charge that even biofuel crops planted in Europe can send shock waves through global food markets and indirectly promote deforestation -- indirect land use change."
    • "Recent research shows that when more food is needed, the majority of new farmland, possibly as much as 80 percent, comes from burning down forests."[42]
  • Analysis: EU cushions biodiesel from damning carbon research, 15 July 2011 by Reuters: "The EU will protect existing investment in its $13 billion biodiesel sector even as it acts on new evidence that suggests making the fuel from food crops can do more harm than good in fighting climate change."
    • "The reports said using Asian palm oil, South American soybeans and EU rapeseed to make biodiesel has a bigger overall impact than conventional diesel on climate change, partly due to forests or wetlands being destroyed to grow replacement food."
    • "European Union policymakers are preparing a political compromise that will safeguard existing biodiesel investments, having baulked at penalizing individual biofuel crops."
    • "With biodiesel representing about 80 percent of Europe's estimated $17 billion market for biofuels and the bloc dependent on diesel imports to meet rising demand, the officials agreed to delay any action that could kill off the biodiesel sector."
    • "The dilemma facing EU policymakers concerns a relatively new concept known as indirect land-use change (ILUC), which challenges the notion that biofuels only emit as much carbon when burned as they absorbed during growth."[43]
  • Cargill Sets Sights on Worldwide Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020, 13 July 2011 by "Agribusiness giant Cargill plans to only offer palm oil -- an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies and numerous other foods -- that is certified sustainable in select countries by 2015 and worldwide by 2020."
    • "Cargill aims to have all of the palm oil it sells in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) within the next four years."
    • "Cargill then plans for all palm oil sold in China, India and elsewhere to be RSPO-certified by 2020."
    • "The first goal, however, excludes palm kernel oil, which is produced from the same oil palm trees that palm oil comes from and is used in food products, soaps and other goods."
    • "The Rainforest Action Network, which has been dogging Cargill about its palm oil use, says that while the goals are a good start, the deadlines are too far away, RSPO certification is weak and palm kernel oil shouldn't be left out."
    • "Cargill says, though, that it's trying to be realistic with its goals, and is aiming for achievable targets."[44]
  • Climate impact threatens biodiesel future in EU, 8 July 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's world-leading $13 billion biodiesel industry, which has boomed in the wake of a decision by Brussels policymakers in 2003 to promote it, is now on the verge of being legislated out of existence after the studies revealed biodiesel's indirect impact cancels out most of its benefits."
    • "The EU has been arguing for two years over the extent of indirect damage to the environment caused by it setting a target of increasing biofuel use to 10 percent of all road fuels by 2020, from less than three percent today."
    • "Its own analysis shows the target may lead to an indirect one-off release of around 1,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide -- more than twice the annual emissions of Germany."
    • "Biofuels were once seen as a silver bullet for curbing transport emissions, based on a theory that they only emit as much carbon as they absorbed during growth."
    • "But that has been undermined by a new concept known as 'indirect land-use change' (ILUC), which scientists are still struggling to accurately quantify."
    • "'The experts unanimously agreed that, even when uncertainties are high, there is strong evidence that the ILUC effect is significant,' said the report from the Commission's November workshop."
    • "Biodiesel from Asian palm oil, South American soy beans, and EU rapeseed all had a bigger overall climate impact than conventional diesel, said a fourth leaked document."
    • "'Ethanol feedstocks have a lower land use change effect than the biodiesel feedstocks. For ethanol, sugar beet has the lowest land use emission coefficients,' said [an] IFPRI report."
    • "The Commission's impact analysis predicts EU demand for biodiesel will collapse if their indirect impacts are taken into account in EU legislation. But at the same time it sees a sharp rise in demand for bioethanol from cereal crops and sugarcane, as well as advanced biodiesel produced from algae."[45]
  • Advertising watchdog calls time on sustainable palm oil adverts, 6 July 2011 by businessGreen: "The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has once again been ordered to change or remove adverts promoting palm oil as 'sustainable', as the sector steps up its efforts to convince EU policy makers to allow palm oil-based biofuels."
    • "MPOC, which represents the Malaysian palm oil industry, is keen to highlight its efforts to reduce the industry's environmental impact as part of a campaign to convince the EU to include fuels made from palm oil in its sustainable biofuel certification scheme."
    • "The case, determined last week, upheld FoE Europe's complaint that MPOC had breached 'les règles de l'éthique publicitaire' in an advert on the EurActiv web site earlier this year."
    • "Defining 'sustainability' by three dimensions - social, environmental and economic - the jury concluded that there was not enough evidence to show that palm oil met all three aspects."[46]
  • Airlines in EU biofuels pact to cut pollution, 23 June 2011 by Reuters: "European airlines, biofuel producers and the EU Commission signed up on Wednesday to produce 2 million tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020 even as debate rages over how green such fuels actually are."
    • "Involved in the project signed on Wednesday are planemaker Airbus, airlines Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa and biofuel producers including Neste Oil."
    • "Aware of the debate surrounding first-generation biofuels, participants at the Paris air show were keen to show a focus on what they feel are more sustainable crops."
    • "Lufthansa says jatropha is its crop of choice and plans to trial a biofuel mix on flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg for six months once certification has been received."
    • "U.S. firm Honeywell, which used biofuel produced by its UOP unit to fly a business jet from North America to Europe, said it uses camelina."
    • "British Airways, meanwhile, is looking at deriving fuel from waste and hopes to power its fleet using the fuel from 2015."[47]
  • UK scientists launch scathing criticism of EU biofuel targets, 2 June 2011 by The Ecologist: "A global 'land grab' and increased loss of forests and other natural ecosystems is being driven by European targets for more transport fuel to come from biofuels, say a group of prominent UK scientists."
    • "The biofuels target was originally designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions but in a letter sent to the transport minister Philip Hammond, and seen by the Ecologist, 19 prominent scientists from across the UK say crop-based biofuels will actually 'substantially increase emissions'."
    • "According to the scientists, in a rush to promote biofues both the UK and EU had failed to take account of two factors - the high-use of nitrogen fertilisers and land-use change brought about by the increasing demand for land to grow biofuel crops instead of food."
    • "'The additional demand for grains, oilseeds and sugars brought about by increased biofuel production will indirectly bring about the conversion of land currently under forest or other natural ecosystem into agricultural land, with the concomitant release into the atmosphere of carbon stored in trees and soil,' says the letter."[48]
  • EU rules on biofuel concern soybean growers, 28 May 2011 by "The European Union has set new environmental and labor standards for the crops used to make biofuels there, angering U.S. farmers who worry that such restrictions could spread to other products and countries."
    • "The standards include greenhouse gas limits that biofuel feedstocks must meet, and U.S. soybeans don't qualify as a feedstock for European biodiesel."
    • "Also in the rules is a requirement that exporters be able to trace the source of a shipment back to the farms on which it was grown, something the U.S. industry can't do with existing storage and transportation practices."
    • "The European Union's new biofuel rules reflected concerns that increased production of palm oil and other crops could encourage destruction of rain forests and other environmental harm."
    • "Biofuel feedstocks are required to reduce greenhouse emissions by 35 percent in comparison to petroleum, but soybeans are credited with only a 31 percent reduction regardless of where they are grown. European-produced rapeseed, or canola, is rated at 38 percent. The calculations take into account such factors as how much energy is used to produce the crop and whether forests were cleared to grow it."[49]
  • GreenPalm defends palm oil certificate trading, 24 May 2011 by "Earlier this month, the supplier of the food, cosmetics and homecare product ingredient, New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL), said a deal to increase the supply of sustainably certified segregated palm oil (CSPO) into Europe could herald the demise of the GreenPalm certification system."
    • "Alan Chaytor, executive director of NBPOL, said that many industry players 'view green certificates with a great deal of suspicion as to what effect, if any, purchasing them has on making the palm oil industry sustainable.'"
    • "But Bob Norman, general manger of GreenPalm has retaliated, saying: 'The NBPOL comments were not in the spirit of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).'"
    • "The RSPO-approved GreenPalm certificate trading scheme, argues Norman, enables RSPO certified producers to earn more – $14m in additional income - for their efforts, wherever they are in the world and, crucially, not whether they export to Europe."
    • "Most palm oil is produced through processes that see large quantities from multiple sources mixed to achieve the critical mass practical for refining, and then again for transportation."
    • "Moreover, in relation to the allegations by NBPOL that the offset scheme was 'unaudited and therefore open to abuse,' Norman stressed that, on the contrary, every aspect of the GreenPalm programme is RSPO audited and fully transparent, with 'strong and clear rules.'"[50]
  • World’s largest wood pellet plant opens in Georgia, 16 May 2011 by "Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced the grand opening of Georgia Biomass last week – a $175 million wood pellet production plant in Waycross, in Georgia’s Ware County. The project was announced in January 2010 and is the result of a collaboration between RWE Innogy of Germany and BMC of Sweden that created 85 jobs."
    • "The facility is expected to produce 750,000 metric tons of wood coal annually that will be exported to power plants in Europe."
    • "RWE is a leading energy production utility in Europe, and will use the wood pellets produced at the Georgia Biomass plant to meet the growing European demand for renewable energy."
    • "'The surplus of sustainably cultivated biomass makes Georgia an excellent location for us to produce wood pellets,' emphasized Sam Kang, executive board member of Georgia Biomass."[51]
  • New CSPO deal means palm oil certs no longer needed, says NBPOL, 12 May 2011 by "New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL) and Wilmar International have agreed to process and jointly market palm oil in Europe."
    • "The deal is said to involve the refinement at Wilmar’s Brake refinery in Germany of up to 300,000 tonnes per annum of fully traceable certified segregated palm oil (CSPO) from NBPOL’s estates."
    • "This deal, commented Alan Chaytor, executive director of NBPOL, ensures that fully segregated, traceable and certified sustainable and affordable palm oil will be made available in enough product specifications and formats that 'food manufacturers throughout Europe will no longer need to buy palm oil offset certificates.'"
    • "Chaytor said that under the current certificate trading system, buyers have little idea where their oil actually comes from and 'the vast majority is from uncertified sources.'"
    • "Chaytor claims that due to the scale and efficiency of the arrangement with Wilmar, coupled with its Liverpool refinery, the two firms can offer a huge range of fully traceable and certified oils with commodity style economics that make it more affordable."[52]
  • Global demand for timber set to increase due to biomass, 5 May 2011 by KMS Baltics: "An increasing number of people may be looking to secure an investment in Eastern European timber, as demand for the material is predicted to soar."
    • "According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the need for paper is going to decline, but timber will still be widely sought after due to the growing popularity of biomass."
    • "A report commissioned by the organisation suggested that the European Union alone would require between 340 million and 420 million cubic metres of wood each year by 2020 to satisfy its biomass needs."
    • "The global price of timber has risen in recent weeks, as demand from nations like Japan, South Korea and China has surged."[53]
  • Europe's biofuel dispute splits the industry, 3 May 2011 by Reuters: "After a two-year investigation, the European Commission has decided that the complex issue of "indirect land use change" (ILUC) can lessen carbon savings from biofuels. In July it may announce moves to curb the least sustainable -- possibly by raising an EU-wide sustainability benchmark."
    • "The battle over ILUC has thrown into doubt EU plans to create a $17 billion annual market for biofuels from producers such as France, Germany, Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia."
    • "'It has sent a lot of signals to investors that the policy environment is uncertain,' Kare Riis Nielsen, head of EU affairs at Danish enzymes producers Novozymes, told Reuters. 'The whole industry is suffering from that.'"
    • "'What's most important now is that we come out of this with crisp, clear signals to the investment community and consumers,' said Nielsen. 'ILUC could create a window of opportunity.'"
    • "The Commission has run 15 studies on different biofuel crops, which on average conclude that over the next decade Europe's biofuels policies might have an indirect impact equal to 4.5 million hectares of land -- an area the size of Denmark."
    • "EU sources say July's announcement by the European Commission will broadly endorse the green credentials of bioethanol but raise questions about some sources of biodiesel."[54]
  • Biofuels targets are 'unethical', says Nuffield report, 13 April 2011 by BBC News (U.K.): "EU biofuels targets are unethical, according to a report by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics."
    • "Its authors recommend the targets should be lifted temporarily until new safeguards are put in place for biofuels grown in Europe or imported."
    • "The Council is an independent body that was set up 20 years ago to ponder ethical issues raised by developments in biology and medicine."
    • "It has been studying biofuels for 18 months - specifically relating to the EU Renewable Energy Directive target that biofuels should account for 10% of transport fuel by 2020, a much-criticised mandate originally designed as part of Europe's strategy to combat climate change."
    • "Based on what it says is a set of ethical values which will be widely shared, the report says biofuels should:
      • not be at the expense of human rights;
      • be environmentally sustainable;
      • contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gases (some currently increase greenhouse gases);
      • adhere to fair trade principles;
      • have costs and benefits that can be distributed in an equitable way."
    • "These principles would be backed by a mandatory - and strictly enforced - EU certification scheme, a little like the Fairtrade scheme."[55]
  • Recent developments of biofuels/bioenergy sustainability certification: A global overview , March 2011 by ScienceDirect:
    • From the abstract: "A large number of national and international initiatives lately experienced rapid development in the view of the biofuels and bioenergy targets announced in the European Union, United States and other countries worldwide. The main certification initiatives are analysed in detail, including certification schemes for crops used as feedstock for biofuels, the various initiatives in the European Union, United States and globally, to cover biofuels and/or biofuels production and use....Certification has the potential to influence positively direct environmental and social impact of bioenergy production. Key recommendations to ensure sustainability of biofuels/bioenergy through certification include the need of an international approach and further harmonisation, combined with additional measures for global monitoring and control. The effects of biofuels/bioenergy production on indirect land use change (ILUC) is still very uncertain; addressing the unwanted ILUC requires sustainable land use planning and adequate monitoring tools such as remote sensing, regardless of the end-use of the product."[57]
  • Kenya biofuel project opposed, 23 March 2011 by AFP: "The Kenyan franchise of Italy's Nuove Iniziative Industriali is planning to farm 50,000 hectares of jatropha near Malindi, a seaside tourist resort in southern Kenya."
    • "'Taking into account the emissions produced throughout the production and consumption process... jatropha would emit between 2.5 and six times more greenhouse gases,' said ActionAid, Nature Kenya and the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds."
    • "The groups said the project is driven by commercial interests in Europe where the European Union has set a target to produce 10 percent of transport energy from biofuels by 2020."
    • "The United Nations Environment Programme said in 2009 that jatropha can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions if grown on degraded land, but can also be carbon intensive if its farming entails land use changes."[58]
  • Evidence of indirect land-use change is clear, says report, 21 March 2011 by Transport & Environment: "A report by Germany’s Öko Institut says there is sufficient scientific knowledge for the EU to include the effects of indirect land use change (Iluc) in its sustainability criteria to determine which biofuels will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report was commissioned by the European Parliament’s environment committee, and puts further pressure on the Commission to include ILUC in its assessment of policy options on biofuels due to be published in July."
    • "The report was presented to MEPs earlier this month, and criticises December’s decision by the Commission to delay incorporating Iluc until it has more evidence about its effects. Iluc is the syndrome by which growing crops for biofuels triggers displacement of existing food or feed production to nature areas, which in many cases leads to higher emissions from biofuels than from the production of conventional fuels."
    • "The Öko Institut says the only viable option for assessing the environmental performance of biofuels is to have feedstock-specific Iluc factors. This would directly link the production of biofuels to its effect on food production."[60]
  • Summit to tackle E10 biofuel debacle held, 8 March 2011 by The Local: "Berlin is working to implement a European Union directive that says biofuels should make up 10 percent of EU vehicle fuel consumption by 2020 to make the continent less dependent on foreign supplies."
    • "The new E10 petrol contains 10 percent biofuel made from crops and has been sold at German filling stations since last month."
    • "But many drivers have spurned E10 because they fear damage to their motors even though the VDA auto federation says it is suitable for 93 percent of petrol-driven vehicles."
    • "'Some drivers buy E10, but 'no more than 10 percent,' Tomas Gloos,a petrol-station manager, told AFP, and 'most of them do so without knowing it.'"
    • "While the oil industry has been accused of providing little information on the new fuel, environmental associations have slammed it for poor results in carbon dioxide emission tests."
    • "They note also that biofuels require farmland that could be used to raise crops for food, putting pressure on prices that are now attracting consumers' attention."[61]
  • Chaos at the Pumps - German Consumers Are Wary of New E10 Biofuel, 4 March 2011 by Der Spiegel: "Germany recently began introducing gasoline containing a higher percentage of biofuels. But consumers have so far been skittish, leading to production chaos and shortages of traditional gasoline. Some politicians have called for laws mandating that biofuels be scrapped altogether."
    • "It began as a plan to reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped into European skies. But a European Union directive requiring gas stations to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol content has hit a snag in Germany, where consumers are avoiding the new petrol -- known as E10 -- because it is harmful to some cars."
    • "The controversy looks set to trigger yet another debate over the feasibility of using biofuels on a large scale....Not only is significant energy used in the production of the fuel, but it isn't uncommon for forestland -- a natural absorber of CO2 -- to be clear-cut for the planting of biofuels crops. Critics have also questioned the use of farmland for automobile fuel in an age of skyrocketing food prices."[62]
  • EU wants 60 pct transport carbon cut by 2050-draft, 16 February 2011 by Reuters: "The European Union's executive Commission will call for a 60 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050."
    • "The proposed transport targets are based on an existing EU goal to cut the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 percent by the middle of the century."
    • "The emissions cuts include a roughly 40 percent cut from maritime fuels compared with 2005 levels."
    • "In road transport, electric vehicles could supply some of the emissions cuts, but that would be impractical for heavy duty road freight given demands of range and energy demand."
    • "Aviation would depend on synthetic kerosene, produced from solid biomass using a process called Fischer-Tropsch, or else biodiesel made from vegetable oils."
    • "In one possible complication for the targets, the EU's "sustainability criteria" are meant to limit the use of biofuels which have unwanted side effects, such as competing with food production, or else leading to the destruction of tropical forests where these are re-planted with energy crops."[63]
  • Oettinger tells Europe: It's double or quits on renewables, 31 January 2011 by "Europe will have to double its spending on renewables if it wants to meet its 2020 energy commitments, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has said."
    • "The data showed that EU member states had largely failed to meet the electricity and transport targets they had set themselves for 2010."
    • "But the latest figures show that only seven EU countries – Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal– expect to meet or exceed their 2010 renewables targets, according to their national action plans."
    • "To achieve the EU's energy goals, Oettinger called for a doubling of capital investments in renewable energies from €35 billion to €70 billion. This would require a substantial use of national support plans, he stated. But he did not set any time frame for implementation."
    • "'If member states work together and produce renewable energy where it costs less, companies, consumers and the taxpayer will benefit from this,' he added."
    • "'Unfortunately, the Commission is still dragging its feet on the issue of sustainable biofuels,' Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes said."
    • "He called for an urgent introduction of rules to take into account the impact of biofuels on indirect land use change (ILUC)."[64]


  • Germany relaxes rule on biofuel sustainability, 15 December 2010 by Michael Hogan: "Germany has temporarily relaxed rules requiring raw materials for biofuels come from sustainable output, a move which industry bodies said on Wednesday will smooth imports of rapeseed and rapeseed oil for biodiesel use."
    • "The directive aims to protect tropical rain forests being cut down for biofuel crop production. But German industry associations had feared the failure of other EU states to implement the rule on time would mean Germany would not have been able to import non-certified rapeseed and rapeseed oil from other EU states in 2011."
    • "Germany imports about two million tonnes of rapeseed annually for food and biodiesel production."
    • "'The change is limited to June 2011 so we now hope that other EU states will also introduce the EU directive otherwise we will be faced with the problem again,' the UFOP spokesman said."[65]
  • Biofuel worse for climate than fossil fuel - study, 7 November 2010 by Reuters: "European plans to promote biofuels will drive farmers to convert 69,000 square km of wild land into fields and plantations, depriving the poor of food and accelerating climate change, a report warned on Monday."
    • "As a result, the extra biofuels that Europe will use over the next decade will generate between 81 and 167 percent more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels, says the report."
    • "Nine environmental groups reached the conclusion after analysing official data on the European Union's goal of getting 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020."
    • "But the European Commission's energy team, which originally formulated the goal, countered that the bulk of the land needed would be found by recultivating abandoned farmland in Europe and Asia, minimising the impact."
    • "The debate centres on a new concept known as "indirect land-use change."
    • "In essence, that means that if you take a field of grain and switch the crop to biofuel, somebody, somewhere, will go hungry unless those missing tonnes of grain are grown elsewhere."
    • "The report was compiled by ActionAid, Birdlife International, ClientEarth, European Environment Bureau, FERN, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Transport & Environment, Wetlands International."[66]
  • World Bank report: demand for biofuels and animal feed is causing land grabs, 8 September 2010 by Friends of The Earth: "On the launch of a new World Bank report today (8 September 2010) in which the Bank explicitly identifies biofuels as one of the driving forces of land grabs in Africa and acknowledges its detrimental impact on local livelihoods, Friends of the Earth renews its call on rich countries to drop their biofuels targets and invest in planet-friendly farming."
    • "Mariann Bassey, African food and agriculture coordinator for Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said: 'The World Bank is backing the practice of nations selling vast agricultural lands to foreign investors, despite evidence that the expansion of industrial farming is trashing rainforests, increasing emissions, and pushing up global food prices.'"
    • "Last week Friends of the Earth released new research showing that the scale of land grabbing in Africa for biofuel production was underestimated and out of control...Even more land will be required for biofuels if the European Union is to reach its target of obtaining 10 per cent of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020, it says."[68]
  • UK biofuels 'falling short' on environmental standards, 31 August 2010 by BBC: "The Renewable Fuels Agency says it is disappointed that the vast majority of biofuels sold on UK forecourts do not conform to environmental standards."
    • "The body said fuel suppliers were meeting legally binding volume targets but some were falling 'well short' on achieving voluntary green standards."
    • "Figures released by the RFA show that just 33% of biofuels met an environmental standard, well short of the 50% goal for 2009/10."
    • "Currently under the RTFO, only the volume target is mandatory; the carbon savings and environmental standards goals were voluntary."
    • "However, this is set to change when the EU Renewable Fuel Directive (RED) comes into force at the end of the year, which will expect member states to ensure the biofuels meet both environmental and carbon saving criteria."
    • "Under RED, member states will also be expected to ensure that 10% of transport fuel is from a renewable source by 2020."[69]
  • Land grabbing for biofuels hits Ghana, other African countries – Report, 30 August 2010 by Emmanuel K. Dogbevi: "There appears to be a gradual but ominous attempt to turn Africa into the production centre of some selected food crops and non-food crops for the production of biofuels to feed industry and vehicles in Europe."
    • "According to [a recent report by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth International], a third of the land sold or acquired in Africa, some five million hectares is intended for fuel crops."
    • "The report profiles land-grab cases that have happened in 11 African countries, most of which is being used or intended to be used to grow biofuel crops like Jatropha and palm oil."
    • "The report indicated further that concerns about energy supply appear to be a key driver behind the demand for agrofuel crops – with the EU aiming for 10% of transport fuel to come from “renewable” sources by 2010. These EU targets have established a clear market – which given land prices and the lack of available land within the EU will inevitably be met by imports."[70]
  • Commercial Airlines May Get 1% of Fuel From Biofuels By 2015, Boeing Says, 22 July by Alex Morales: "Boeing has worked with airlines from the U.S. to Japan to test jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha and camelina."
    • "Boeing’s forecast of 1 percent of fuels coming from biofuels by the middle of the decade is for the global air industry, and the company is working with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, an alliance of 19 airlines that aim to be first-movers, Glover said. UOP’s Rekoske said 1 percent is more likely to be reached at regional levels, with Europe and the U.S. Northwest as potential candidates."
    • "'They’re actually not made in major quantities at this point,' [James Rekoske, vice president and general manager of renewable energy and chemicals at Honeywell International Inc.] said in an interview this week at the Farnborough Air Show south of London. 'We have the largest facility in the world and we’ve produced biofuels at about 200,000 gallons this year, which is really a very small quantity compared to what the airlines would need.'"[71]
  • NGOs Say EU Fuelling Hunger By Grabbing Land For Biofuels , 29 June 2010 by Eurasia Review: "Western development and environmental groups warned Tuesday that EU biofuels targets are leading to uncontrollable land grabbing from poor communities in Africa, pushing more people into hunger."
    • "A day before EU member states submit their renewable energy plans to the EU, NGOs Action Aid and Friends of the Earth Europe called on European leaders to halt the expansion of biofuels."[72]
  • UNECE Black Carbon Group Holds First Meeting, 28 June 2010 by "The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Black Carbon under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 17-18 June 2010."
    • "During the meeting, national experts and policymakers from Europe, North and South America and Asia reviewed the current state of black carbon research, discussed knowledge gaps, and explored future strategies for reducing the pollutant’s emissions."
    • "By the end of 2010, the Group, chaired by Norway and the US, is expected to provide options for potential revisions to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, enabling parties to the Convention to mitigate black carbon as part of a broader particulate matter strategy for health purposes and to achieve climate co-benefits."[73]
  • Biofuels: Airplane fuel of the future?, 5 April by Arthur Max, Associated Press: "Within a decade, passenger planes will be flying on jet fuel largely made from plants — flax, marsh grass, even food waste — as airlines seek to break away from the volatile oil market and do their part to fight climate change, aviation experts say."
    • "Dependency on agrofuels 'will lead to faster deforestation and climate change and spells disaster for indigenous peoples, other forest-dependent communities and small farmers, says a statement from the Global Forest Coalition, an alliance of environmental groups."
    • "A Swiss-based organization, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, has drawn up standards for certifying the entire chain of production."
    • "The European Union has decided that by 2012 all flights into and from European airports will be subject to the European carbon trading program. That means airlines will be given a limit on how much carbon dioxide they can emit, and they can buy or sell carbon credits depending on whether they are over or under their targets."[77]
  • Of Biofuels, Land Grabs and Food Prices, 4 April 2010 by New York Times Green Inc. blog: "ActionAid, an antipoverty group, has stepped up a campaign against European Union policies aimed at encouraging consumers to use fuels grown from crops to power their cars."
    • "The group last week staged mock 'land grabs' in which members worked the soil and erected models of gasoline pumps in front of the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen."
    • "The 27 member countries of the E.U. have agreed to generate 10 percent of their fuel for transport from renewable sources by 2020. A large proportion of that target is expected to come from biofuels. ActionAid is seeking to highlight the potentially negative effects of biofuels to discourage governments from following through with that plan."[78]
  • NGOs take European Commission to court over biofuels reports , 9 March 2010 by Euractiv: "Four environmental groups have sued the European Union's executive for withholding documents they say will add to a growing dossier of evidence that biofuels harm the environment and push up food prices."
    • "In December 2008, EU leaders reached agreement on a new Renewable Energy Directive, which requires each member state to satisfy 10% of its transport fuel needs from renewable sources, including biofuels, hydrogen and green electricity, by 2020."
    • "However, concerns have been raised that increased biofuel production would result in massive deforestation and have severe implications for food security, as energy crops replace other land uses (so-called 'indirect land-use change').
    • "The lawsuit, lodged with the EU's General Court, the bloc's second highest court, alleges several violations of European laws on transparency and democracy."[80]
  • 'Invasive' biofuel crops require monitoring and mitigation measures, 21 January 2010 by ENN/European Consumers Bioenergy Division: "Biofuel crops will impact on biodiversity and natural ecosystems unless tightly controlled, says a panel of European experts."
    • The Bern Convention "adopted a recommendation on potentially invasive alien plants being used as biofuel crops (Recommendation 141, 2009). They warn that some biofuel crops are able to escape as pests, and in so doing impact on native biodiversity. As rural communities plan to grow more biofuel crops, the likelihood of new and harmful 'invasions' will increase apace."
    • "Therefore the Council of Europe made recommendations, which are legally binding on member states:
1. Avoid the use of biofuel crops already recognised as invasive;
2. Carry out risk assessments for new species and genotypes;
3. Monitor the spread of biofuel crops into natural habitats and their effects on native species;
4. Mitigate the spread and impact on native biodiversity wherever biofuel crops escape cultivation."[81]
  • Bad year for biofuel ends on a dour note, 1 January 2010 by AP/Washington Post: "A federal tax credit that provided makers of biodiesel $1 for every gallon expired Friday. As a result, some U.S. producers say they will shut down without the government subsidy."
    • "Biodiesel's woes come on top of a year of problems for the fledgling biofuel industry - an irony given the push to cut down on greenhouse gases and ease the nation's need for foreign oil. A key driver for the alternative fuel - the high cost of oil - disappeared as diesel prices dropped 18 percent since the beginning of the recession. Then in March the European Union placed import-killing tariffs on biodiesel and other biofuels."[82]


  • How Carbon Markets Can Make Both Economic and Ecological Sense, 7 June 2009 by The New York Times: "...researchers found that paying to conserve forest was more valuable than plantations as long as poorer nations could earn between $10 and $33 for each tonne of CO2 saved. Currently a credit representing a tonne of CO2 sells for about $20 in the European Union..."
    • "...opponents of a payment system insist that verifying emissions reductions would be too hard. They also say such a system could rob deprived areas of the world of the chance for economic development."
  • Is Biofuel Policy Harming European Biodiversity?, 25 April 2009 by Science Daily:
    • "A recent paper by Eggers et al. presents a new method of assessing biodiversity impacts resulting from changing land use due to the production of biofuel crops in Europe, distinguishing between arable (first generation) and woody (second-generation) crop types.
    • "The results indicate that more species might suffer from habitat losses rather than benefit from a doubled biofuel target, while abolishing the biofuel target would mainly have positive effects." [84]
  • EU slaps duties on U.S. biodiesel imports: sources, 3 March 2009 by Reuters: "A key European Union trade panel approved on Tuesday temporary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States, sources with knowledge of the decision said."
    • "From March 13, U.S. firms exporting biodiesel into the EU will have to pay additional tariffs for an initial six months, ranging from 26 euros ($32.88) to 41 euros per 100 kg."
    • "The EU firms say exporters in the United States are involved in so-called 'splash and dash,' whereby they import cheaper biodiesel from countries such as Brazil and add less than 5 percent of U.S. mineral diesel so they can pick up the subsidy from Washington before exporting to Europe."[85]
  • Sustainability criteria must be science based, verifiable and WTO-compatible (Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities), 25 February 2009, by the World Refining Association: Malaysia's Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, the Hon. Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, stated in an interview that “We urge the EU to ensure that its sustainability scheme does not discriminate against third country producers and that the criteria used are science based, verifiable and WTO-compatible".
    • "We are engaging countries such as the EU and USA that are coming up with legislations which impose sustainability criteria on our palm and biofuel products. This includes the EU Directive on Renewable Energy."
  • Weak oil and imports turn EU biofuel boom to gloom, 24 February 2009 by Reuters: "European euphoria over biofuel has ended after slumping oil prices and cheap imports battered the sector last year, while the credit crisis has made the outlook even gloomier."
    • "Many companies across the European Union have abandoned or halted biofuel projects and more damage will occur if oil prices do not rise significantly in 2009 and the bloc does not manage to protect its market, producers and analysts said."
    • "European producers of biodiesel -- by far the main biofuel made in the bloc -- also blamed their troubles on cheap subsidized imports, mainly from the United States."
    • "The European Commission, the EU executive, plans next month to propose imposing anti-dumping duties on U.S. biodiesel, a measure that could provisionally take effect a month later, sources familiar with the proposal told Reuters last week."[86]


  • Biofuel producers warn EU over "unjustifiably complex" sustainability rules, 7 November 2008 by BusinessGreen: "Eight developing countries have written to the EU warning they will complain to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if it passes proposed legislation designed to improve the environmental sustainability of biofuels by restricting the types of fuels the bloc imports."
    • "The EU is considering legislation that is intended to ban the purchase of biofuels from energy crop plantations that are believed to harm the environment and lead to food shortages by displacing land used for food crops and contributing to rainforest deforestation."
    • "[E]ight countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Malaysia – have written to the EU to protest against the proposals" in a letter that "claims that the new rules would 'impose unjustifiably complex requirements on producers' and argues that environmental criteria 'relating to land-use change will impinge disproportionately on developing countries'."[87]
  • EU biofuel panic threatens planet - Brazil envoy, 19 September 2008 by Reuters/Business Feed: "Europe's heated debate over biofuels risks weakening one of the world's best tools to fight climate change and one of the developing world's best hopes for economic growth, Brazil's ambassador to the EU said on Friday."
    • The "huge potential market for biofuels is coveted by exporters such as Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as European farming nations. But the European Parliament last week agreed a 6 percent limit for fuels from foods such as Brazilian sugar."[89]
  • EU in crop biofuel goal rethink, 11 September 2008 by BBC News: "European Union lawmakers have voted to set a limit on targets to increase the use of road transport biofuels."
    • "The original EU target that 10% of all road transport fuel should come from renewable sources by 2020 did not set limits for crop biofuels."
    • "A committee of the European Parliament has now voted to limit such fuels to 6% of the 10% target."
  • Europe to reaffirm biofuels targets, 10 September 2008 by "The European parliament will tomorrow reaffirm binding targets for biofuels in transport and for renewables in energy use in the face of growing political resistance."
    • "MEPs on the parliament's key industry committee will set a mandatory target of 5% of biofuels in transport by 2015, rising to 10% by 2020."
    • "They will also defy objections from several governments, including Britain, and approve in principle a system of penalties for countries which fail to meet interim targets for renewable energy."
  • Less dependency on biofuels in EU climate plan, 29 July 2008 by Reuters: "Biofuels are down and energy efficiency measures are up as the European Union's ambitious plan to fight climate change works its way towards becoming law."
    • "[W]ith soaring world food prices blamed partly on competition for farmland from agri-fuel producers, biofuels are no longer the flavor of the month."
    • "Ministers now believe -- not least due to high oil prices -- that the biggest opportunity for a quick win in the battle against global warming lies in energy savings".
  • Setback to biofuels expansion, 9 July 2008, The Financial Times: "Contentious plans to raise the European Union's biofuels use have been dealt a blow after legislators called for the brakes to be put on the proposals."
  • Europeans Reconsider Biofuel Goal , 8 July 2008 by the New York Times: "European officials proposed scaling back drastically on their goal of increasing Europe’s use of biofuels, a major about-face on a central environmental and energy issue."
    • "The Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted Monday to approve the measure and send it to the full Parliament. Members of each major political bloc on the committee called for a much lower target — 4 percent — and said the measures should be reviewed in 2015 before any decision to ratchet up that target to between 8 percent and 10 percent."
    • "Under the alternative proposals that the committee voted on, 20 percent of renewable transport fuels would have to come from feed stocks, like algae, that do not compete with food for cropland. Europe also could meet the target by expanding the use of vehicles powered by biogas, electricity or hydrogen by 2015. That figure would rise to as much as 50 percent by 2020. Nations also would have to abide by rules on environmental and social sustainability."[91]
  • US and EU urged to cut biofuels, 7 July 2008, BBC World News: "World Bank President Robert Zoellick has called for reform of biofuel policies in rich countries, urging them to grow more food to feed the hungry."
  • Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis, 4 July 2008 in The Guardian: "Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian."
    • The report "argues that production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three main ways. First, it has diverted grain away from food for fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel. Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production. Third, it has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher."[92]




Governmental organizations

  • Joint Research Center (JRC) - A service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as "a reference centre of science and technology for the Union".
  • Litbioma (Lithuanian).

Nongovernmental organizations

Industry Organizations


See books, reports, scientific papers, position papers and websites for additional useful resources.

  • Assessing the Land Use Change Consequences of European Biofuel Policies by David Laborde of the International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI) for the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, October 2011: This report follows up on the 2010 European Commission report “Global Trade and Environmental Impact Study of the EU Biofuels Mandate”.
    • "This new study contains several important changes compared to the previous report. It uses an updated version of the global computable general equilibrium model (CGE), MIRAGE-Biof, as well as a revised scenario describing the EU mandate based on the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the 27 member states. In addition, a stronger focus has been placed on specific feedstock Land Use Change (LUC) computation and the uncertainties surrounding these values. Systematic sensitivity analysis is used to measure the potential range of LUC coefficients." [96]
  • Assessing the Land Use Change Consequences of European Biofuel Policies by David Laborde of the International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI) for the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, October 2011: This report follows up on the 2010 European Commission report “Global Trade and Environmental Impact Study of the EU Biofuels Mandate”.
    • "This new study contains several important changes compared to the previous report. It uses an updated version of the global computable general equilibrium model (CGE), MIRAGE-Biof, as well as a revised scenario describing the EU mandate based on the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the 27 member states. In addition, a stronger focus has been placed on specific feedstock Land Use Change (LUC) computation and the uncertainties surrounding these values. Systematic sensitivity analysis is used to measure the potential range of LUC coefficients." [97]
  • The Rising Trend of Green Protectionism: Biofuels and the European Union by ECIPE (European Centre for International Political Economy), 2012.
    • "This paper surveys and discusses the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in the European Union and its compatibility with EU obligations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). More particularly, it intends to shed light on the evolvement of policies in Europe to protect biofuels producers from foreign competition. While the effectiveness of traditional protective tools of trade policy – tariffs and subsidies – are diminishing, local producers have embraced the introduction of specific sustainability criteria that would have the effect of protecting incumbent market actors while increasing the cost for new foreign market entrants."
    • "Europe’s biofuels consumption is dominated by local supply. Imports play a growing yet small role. However, import is likely to grow in the near future as the cost of local production of biodiesel and ethanol are comparatively high. The local industry, however, has invested on the premise that demand for its production – especially of biodiesel – will continue to grow rapidly." [[98]
  • Proceedings of the "Workshop on Biofuels and Indirect Land Use Change" by Uwe R. Fritsche, Hans Van Steen, Jan-Erik Petersen, Luisa Marelli, Kjell Andersson, Göran Berndes, Nuša Urbancic, January 2012. "Expecting the release of the European Commission’s impact assessment on 'indirect land use change (ILUC) related to biofuels and bioliquids on greenhouse gas emissions and addressing ways to minimize it', the Coordinators of the ENVI Committee requested the organisation of a workshop on this issue. The workshop consisted of different presentations and an exchange of views with Members and established experts in the area of the biofuels and ILUC. This report summarises the presentation, discussions and conclusions." [99]
  • Global Trade and Environmental Impact Study of the EU Biofuels Mandate (PDF file), March 2010 by Al-Riffai, P., B. Dimaranan and D. Laborde for IFPRI. From the Executive Summary:
    • "The primary objective of this study is to analyse the impact of possible changes in EU biofuels trade policies on global agricultural production and the environmental performance of the EU biofuel policy as concretised in the [European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (RED)]. The study pays particular attention to the ILUC effects, and the associated emissions, of the main feedstocks used for first-generation biofuels production."
    • "...World cropland increases by 0.07%, showing that there is indeed indirect land use change associated with the EU biofuels mandate."
    • "Finally, considerable uncertainty remains regarding the impact of the sustainability criteria on biofuels markets. The role of certification and the emergence of differentiation in biofuels, feedstock crops and land prices, based on carbon content and the respect of sustainability criteria, require more empirical research."[100]


  • Refuel project - a project to "improve market penetration for biofuels" in the EU.


  1. the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council (8/9 March 2007
  2. EU Energy Ministers Approve Binding Biofuels Mandate (pdf) (press release)]

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