EU plans to limit use of food-based biofuels

By MICHAEL HADDON

LONDON -- The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said Monday it plans to limit the use of biofuels derived from food crops to 5% of transport fuel, in a radical change to its biofuel policy.

The EU’s climate-change commissioner Connie Hedegaard and energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said they wanted to cap the share of energy in the transport sector from food crop-based biofuels - such as rapeseed or palm oil - at current levels.

“It is wrong to believe that we are pushing food-based biofuels,” they said in a joint statement. “In our upcoming proposal for new legislation, we do exactly the contrary: we limit them to the current consumption level, that is 5% up to 2020.”

The proposal, a draft of which was reported by Dow Jones Newswires last week, clashes with the target of having 10% of the energy used in transport coming from renewable sources by 2020.

This goal was set by the EU three years ago because food crop-based biofuels account for most biofuels available in volumes at the moment.

New types are being developed, but are mostly at the laboratory stage. At the same time, biofuels are expected to be the main renewable energy source to be used in transport in 2020.

However, “the Commission's message for post-2020 is that our clear preference are biofuels produced from non-food feedstocks, like waste or agricultural residues such as straw,” the statement said.

“These new type of biofuels are not in competition with food, nor do they require additional land. We are pushing biofuels that help us cutting substantial CO2-emissions, do not compete with food and are sustainable and green at the same time,” it added.


Dow Jones Newswires

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