Influential Environment Committee backs cap on crop-based fuels and moves to include indirect emissions in EU directives
Biofuels from food crops will be capped under new EU plans voted on by MEPs. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
EU Parliamentarians have approved proposals to limit the contribution of conventional biofuels toward its green transport targets, in a move producers labelled “complex and ineffective”.
MEPs in the influential Environment Committee (ENVI) voted 43-21, with one abstention, to set a cap for fuels made from food crops at 5.5% and include emissions arising from indirect land use change (ILUC) factors such as clearing of forests, wetlands, or grasslands in the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive when calculating official emissions impacts.
The Commission had already proposed a five 5% cap, but the EU Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) said last month this should be raised to 6.5% and recommended ILUC factors not be included until the methodology for measuring indirect emissions is more reliable.
The cap is designed to accelerate the development of so-called second-generation biofuels, which derive from materials such as waste, agricultural residues, or algae, which in theory do not compete with food production but have yet to reach industrial levels of production.
Green groups have blamed biofuel production for rising food prices and point to a number of research papers that suggest ILUC emissions mean that some forms of biofuel, particular biodiesel made from palm or soybean oil, are worse for the environment than the petrol and diesel fuels they are designed to replace. (read more).
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