Campaign group claims EU’s 35bcm biomethane target is “both unrealistic and unsustainable”
The report, which calls for a lower target, is called Biomethane: setting a target that is fit for food and the climate.
The 35bcm biomethane target was set by the European Commission to encourage greater energy security, according to Feedback EU.
"No impact assessment was carried out on the target and the only detailed analysis of the feedstocks needed to produce 35bcm of biomethane was done by the gas industry," said the organisation.
It added that its analysis shows that the use of most of these feedstocks at the volumes proposed would bring unintended consequences, such as encouraging more livestock production and food-feed-fuel competition.
The organisation went on to say that its "independent and in-depth analysis of the feedstock assumptions" underpinning the 35bcm target show that it will be unachievable.
At worst, it will embed "dangerously unsustainable agricultural, land use and energy practices".
Frank Mechielsen, director of Feedback EU said: “a 35bcm target and lack of strong legal safeguards regarding unsustainable feedstock is not only completely unrealistic but, if made binding, would lead to a 'scramble for feedstocks' causing unintended knock-on and lock-in effects.
"Member States must reject the target or face unintended consequences which will impact on the EU’s ability to meet its food security and climate commitments over the coming decades.”
Karen Luyckx, the technical advisor who conducted the research, said: “Our analysis shows that the 35bcm biomethane target has been poorly thought through and fails to take into account the best expert advice.
"In contrast, a more conservative target, set in conjunction with independent sustainable food system experts – starting with the Commission’s own Chief Scientific Advisers – could allow biomethane to play its role in decarbonising some of the most energy-intensive sectors.
"Let us set a new biomethane target, one that allows it to play its important but niche role, in a truly decarbonised future, within a sustainable, healthy and just food system”.
The European Biogas Association did not respond to Bioenergy Insight's request for its views on the report.