Europe: biofuels from crops to be capped

In a negative long term move for palm bio-diesel, MEPs have voted for a 5.5% cap and ILUC factors for bio-fuels to be set for EU Renewable Energy Directive. The next step is in September.

Furthermore, an influential research papers by a Princeton academic points out that bio-fuels are taking away food from people. This gives fodder for anti-biofuels campaigners to point out that (many) biofuels are bad for the environment and also bad for people.

It looks like several big biofuels markets will be getting more wary of biofuels. It may be up to producer countries to use more of their own product.

News sources:

"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 package will now be put to a plenary session of Parliament in September."

News source: Biofuels from food crops to be capped following MEPs' vote; Influential Environment Committee backs cap on crop-based fuels and moves to include indirect emissions in EU directives; weblink:

"According to new research by Tim Searchinger, a Princeton University research scholar and acknowledged biofuels expert, a tragic equation is buried in existing modelling data used by the EU to establish the effects of indirect land use change (ILUC) – the increased CO2 emissions that displaced agricultural activity may create... When agricultural land that had been used to grow food is given over to growing biofuels, someone somewhere will go hungry - unless previously uncultivated land is taken to grow the displaced food, or yields from existing crops increase commensurately.
But “there is extremely little evidence that you will get additional yield gains,” Searchinger said over the phone from New Jersey yesterday (9 July), “and without that you get two bad responses: You have some land expansion, and people eat less.”.. Searchinger’s reading of one key report produced for the EU by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that of every 100 calories from wheat or maize diverted to food tanks by bioethanol production, 25 calories were not replaced... “If you step back, take the broader view and see that people are going to have to produce 60% more food by 2050 [to feed a growing world population] that we’re not going to be able to feed entirely from yield gain, biofuels will just compound that problem.”
News source: MEPs to vote on biofuels as study points to hunger, deforestation; 10 July 2013; weblink: