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EU to cap the use of land-based biofuels at 7%

28 April 2015

The European Parliament adopted a draft law to cap the use of crop-derived (“first-generation”) biofuels at 7% of the total fuel consumption in transport. Through the introduction of indirect land-use change (ILUC) reporting requirements, the legislation also aims to cut GHG emissions caused by the growing use of farm land for biofuel crops.

The draft had already been agreed informally by MEPs and ministers.

The current Renewable Energy Directive requires EU member states to ensure that renewable energy accounts for at least 10% of energy consumption in transport by 2020. The new law says that:

The adopted law is less stringent than the 2012 proposal which called for a 5% biofuel cap. In 2013, EU consumption of biofuels was at 4.7%, according to the T&E group. Therefore, the 7% cap still allows a substantial increase of first-generation biofuels consumption.

Under the European Commission’s 2030 climate and energy policy, first-generation biofuels should not be supported after 2020 due to ILUC emissions. Using farmland to produce biofuel crops reduces the area available for food crops, adding pressure to free up more land, such as through deforestation, to grow more food—a process described as indirect land use change (ILUC). But deforestation increases GHG emissions, which may cancel out the emission reductions from using biofuels.

Source: EU Parliament