First generation biofuels capped at 6% for EU transportation target

The vote at the European Parliament concerning proposed changes to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) was taken on 11 September.

The use of crop-based biofuels for land transportation has been capped at 6% of the total 10% aimed for by 2020 and MEPs also agreed to pass a 2.5% share from second generation biofuels. The final figure of 6% is marginally higher than the 5.5% cap mentioned during the lead up to this vote.

Plans to measure emissions via indirect land use change from 2020 onwards, which may not sit well with many ‘green campaigners’, was also put into effect.

European renewable ethanol industry association ePure believes that a number of the decisions made by MEPs will discourage the ambition of greening Europe’s transport system however.

‘It is disappointing to see that the European Parliament has decided to significantly reduce the market for conventional biofuels in Europe,’ says ePure secretary general Rob Vierhout.  ‘At a time when we need to boost our economy it is difficult to see why MEPs agree to curtail jobs and investment in a sector that helps Europe to grow the production of clean and sustainable fuels.’  

The inclusion of a separate target for ethanol in petrol was welcomed by ePure however and Vierhout outlined its position on the outcome of the vote in relation to multiple counting.

‘Multiple counting does not give member states an incentive to invest or develop advanced biofuels; more fossil fuel use will be the result. The benefit is symbolic,’ he adds. ‘We are disappointed with the decision to keep ILUC factors as part of the European approach to biofuels too. It is premature to ask for accounting post 2020 knowing that the science will only be reviewed in 2016.’

Poverty fighting organisation ActionAid called the decision a ‘kick in the teeth for the world’s poor’.

‘This vote is a great disappointment for the millions of people facing hunger because of land grabs and rising fuel prices,’ says Nuria Molina, director of policy and campaigns at ActionAid. ‘MEPs from across Europe turned their backs on the world’s poor, as well as their own constituents, by continuing to encourage food being used for fuel.’

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