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Biofuels policy and indirect land use change

20-04-2015

The EU has been supporting biofuels, mainly as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in road transport. However, the current policy has been criticised by many, including the European Parliament, for failing to take into account emissions from indirect land use change. To address these shortcomings, the Commission presented a legislative proposal in October 2012. Second reading negotiations with the Council have delivered a compromise, now awaiting a vote in plenary.

The EU has been supporting biofuels, mainly as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in road transport. However, the current policy has been criticised by many, including the European Parliament, for failing to take into account emissions from indirect land use change. To address these shortcomings, the Commission presented a legislative proposal in October 2012. Second reading negotiations with the Council have delivered a compromise, now awaiting a vote in plenary.

The Impact of Biofuels on Transport and the Environment, and their Connection with Agricultural Development in Europe

16-02-2015

The use of biofuels in transport is being promoted as a means of tackling climate change, diversifying energy sources and securing energy supply. Biofuels production also provides new options for using agricultural crops. However, it also gives rise to environmental, social and economic concerns which are the subject of intense debate worldwide. This study provides a detailed overview of biofuels production and consumption and of related policies worldwide. It also contains comprehensive analysis ...

The use of biofuels in transport is being promoted as a means of tackling climate change, diversifying energy sources and securing energy supply. Biofuels production also provides new options for using agricultural crops. However, it also gives rise to environmental, social and economic concerns which are the subject of intense debate worldwide. This study provides a detailed overview of biofuels production and consumption and of related policies worldwide. It also contains comprehensive analysis and discussion of key aspects affecting the overall sustainability of biofuels. These include, in particular, their impact on agricultural markets, emissions from indirect land-use change, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Luisa Marelli, Monica Padella, Robert Edwards, Alberto Moro, Marina Kousoulidou, Jacopo Giuntoli, David Baxter, Veljko Vorkapic, Alessandro Agostini, Adrian O’Connell, Laura Lonza and Lilian Garcia-Lledo (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport, Sustainable Transport Unit)

EU biofuels policy: Dealing with indirect land use change

20-01-2015

In 2003, the European Union established a biofuels support policy, primarily with the aim of lowering CO2 emissions in the transport sector. Critics have accused this policy of inducing indirect land use change (ILUC), which triggers an increase in global food prices and in food insecurity for the poor, promotes the creation of large land holdings and the use of available ('marginal') land in developing countries, and not least, boosts carbon emissions. Most research carried out recently suggests ...

In 2003, the European Union established a biofuels support policy, primarily with the aim of lowering CO2 emissions in the transport sector. Critics have accused this policy of inducing indirect land use change (ILUC), which triggers an increase in global food prices and in food insecurity for the poor, promotes the creation of large land holdings and the use of available ('marginal') land in developing countries, and not least, boosts carbon emissions. Most research carried out recently suggests that while concerns regarding food production may have been overstated, those related to ILUC are not, as ILUC can indeed increase the release of CO2 emissions during biofuel production. The biofuels industry argues that it sustains many jobs in European rural areas. In 2012, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to address some of these concerns while preserving existing investments. It proposed capping conventional biofuels and promoting advanced biofuels. The proposal is expected to go through a second reading in Parliament and the Council in early 2015. Parliament has called for a cap on conventional biofuels, a sub-target for advanced biofuels and the consideration of ILUC factors, while stressing the need for a post-2020 policy. Advanced biofuels are not yet produced on a large scale in the EU. Although in principle they have advantages over conventional biofuels, the technologies are not fully mature, investment is lacking and the sustainability of feedstocks needs to be assessed. The biofuels and farming sectors advocate the continued production of conventional biofuels as a source of jobs and economic activity in rural areas and oppose radical changes in policy. Some NGOs are generally opposed to conventional biofuels and would prefer cautious support measures for advanced biofuels.

Indirect Land-Use Change Related to Biofuels and Bioliquids: Initial Appraisal of the Commission's Impact Assessment

15-03-2013

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

Proceedings of the Workshop "Sustainable Biofuels: Addressing Indirect Land Use Change"

15-02-2013

Further to the publication of a new legislative proposal addressing the emissions from indirect land-use change (ILUC) and amending the Directives on Fuel Quality (Directive 98/70/EC) and Renewable Energy (Directive 2009/28/EC) by the European Commission in October 2012, the Coordinators of the ENVI Committee requested the organisation of a workshop on this issue. The workshop consisted of an exchange of views with representatives of EU institutions, research institutes, biofuels industry, NGOs and ...

Further to the publication of a new legislative proposal addressing the emissions from indirect land-use change (ILUC) and amending the Directives on Fuel Quality (Directive 98/70/EC) and Renewable Energy (Directive 2009/28/EC) by the European Commission in October 2012, the Coordinators of the ENVI Committee requested the organisation of a workshop on this issue. The workshop consisted of an exchange of views with representatives of EU institutions, research institutes, biofuels industry, NGOs and other stakeholders. The first part was aimed at presenting the European Commission's proposal and providing scientific input on the assessment of the impacts of ILUC. The second part introduced policy options on the table and future perspectives from the point of view of industry and NGOs. The workshop was co-chaired by MEPs Corinne Lepage (ENVI rapporteur) and Alejo Vidal-Quadras (ITRE rapporteur). EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard held the keynote speech. This report summarises the presentations, discussions and conclusions.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

ICEDD (Institut de Conseil et d'Etudes en Développement Durable) Maria José LOPEZ, Yves MARENNE, Marco ORSINI

Systemic Approach to Adaptation to Climate Change and Renewable Energy Harnessing (Biomass and Mini-Hydro) (Study and Options Brief)

16-01-2012

Pyrolysis technology has been assessed in this report based on an examination of the costs, the benefits, the barriers to market uptake, and the potential for EU funding to contribute to innovation and/or technology deployment. Given the benefits associated with the application of biochar to soils, here we consider how it can be utilised in the context of on-farm mitigation options. Looking at application of the technology from this perspective helps underline the importance of local context and ...

Pyrolysis technology has been assessed in this report based on an examination of the costs, the benefits, the barriers to market uptake, and the potential for EU funding to contribute to innovation and/or technology deployment. Given the benefits associated with the application of biochar to soils, here we consider how it can be utilised in the context of on-farm mitigation options. Looking at application of the technology from this perspective helps underline the importance of local context and soil properties. In carrying out cost-benefit analysis however, it has been challenging to calculate the cost of biochar given the lack of available information. For this reason, we have had to consider the cost of the entire pyrolysis lifecycle by looking at the cost of a number of other products such as pyrolysis oil. We maintain that the added benefit of biochar in terms of its ability to address adaptation, improves its overall cost-effectiveness. We also conclude that, although there is significant potential to implement mini-hydro for mitigation purposes, investment in the technology with the dual purpose of addressing both policy agenda items is not likely to improve its overall cost effectiveness given the limitations associated with implementation.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Jane Desbarats, Bettina Kretschmer, Robbie Watt and Keith Whiriskey (IEEP)

An Assessment of the Effects of Land Ownership and Land Grab on Development - With a Particular Focus on Small Holdings and Rural Areas

31-03-2011

Land ownership and related issues have a distinct and profound impact on poverty reduction and wealth creation in developing countries. The brief first examines different systems of land tenure in the developing world, paying attention to how differences in access to land affect development. The authors discuss the assumption that land ownership increases productivity through access to credit and greater on-land investment. The brief then provides an overview of two political and economic processes ...

Land ownership and related issues have a distinct and profound impact on poverty reduction and wealth creation in developing countries. The brief first examines different systems of land tenure in the developing world, paying attention to how differences in access to land affect development. The authors discuss the assumption that land ownership increases productivity through access to credit and greater on-land investment. The brief then provides an overview of two political and economic processes that involve a largescale redistribution of land: land reform and the so-called land-grabbing movement. The study also includes an overview of international governance mechanisms and EU processes currently addressing these land issues. Regarding land reform, we conclude that although it differs widely across countries, it will only be successful when complemented with policies to help small-scale farmers effectively use the land. Similarly, we conclude that land grabbing can only be a win-win situation for both investors and recipient countries if adequate regulations are in place. Finally, the brief provides a series of recommendations for European policy-makers addressing the issue. Our recommendations include strengthening existing EU policy initiatives on land reform and land acquisitions in developing countries, increasing foreign aid dedicated to agricultural development and strengthening the sustainability requirements of imported biofuels.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Christiane Gerstter, Timo Kaphengst, Doris Knoblauch and Krista Timeus (Ecologic Institute, Germany)

The competition between food crops and non food crops for energy : what are the effects on agricultural structures and on the use of land ?

15-05-2008

This study examines the effects of the EU biofuel policy on European agriculture. The requirements in terms of feedstock and arable land of the EU biofuel targets have been evaluated by assuming scenarios of different price levels for agricultural commodities and the possibility of the EU biofuel industry to be alternatively supplied by European crops or through import. The research has also investigated the technical adaptation of agricultural holdings, the consequences of the prospective CAP changes ...

This study examines the effects of the EU biofuel policy on European agriculture. The requirements in terms of feedstock and arable land of the EU biofuel targets have been evaluated by assuming scenarios of different price levels for agricultural commodities and the possibility of the EU biofuel industry to be alternatively supplied by European crops or through import. The research has also investigated the technical adaptation of agricultural holdings, the consequences of the prospective CAP changes, and the impact on the EU food industry and on the environment (land resources, biodiversity, GHG balances, sustainable feedstock production). Executive summary The start of the EU biofuel policy in 2003 - with the provision of incorporation targets and fiscal incentives - has encouraged a remarkable expansion of the European biofuel industry in both the biodiesel and the bioethanol sectors, and an equally significant growth of production capacity is also expected in the short-medium term. These changes have involved the main world competitors, which in the past (Brazil) or more recently (US), launched aggressive biofuel policies. These developments have activated an additional demand for agricultural commodities together with an increased competition between the food and agro-energy sectors for the use of land resources. However, increasing demand in the agricultural markets may make feedstock prices rise at levels that might hinder the progress of the biofuel industry and the fulfilment of the incorporation targets. In addition, the rise in the price of oil is creating cross effects between oil, biofuel production and the agricultural markets, which are critical for agriculture and food supplies. The potential impacts of competition between food and non-food uses of land are analysed through a simulation model by assuming the EU 2010 target of 5.75% incorporation of biofuels as a short-medium term perspective, and the 2020 target of 10% as a long term perspective.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Luigi Vannini, Maurizio Aragrande, Massimo Canali, Gianluca Macchi, Areté Srl, Mauro Bruni, Enrica Gentile, Francesco Vanni and Alberico Loi (Dipartimento di Economia ed Ingegneria Agrarie - DEIAGRA, Università di Bologna, Italy)

Certification Schemes for Biofuels – Focus on Brazil

30-04-2008

This note provides some sustainability criteria in order to develop certification schemes of biofuels: e.g. social and environmental criteria at the production stage; accreditation and certification process requirements; and supply chain mechanisms (traceability).

This note provides some sustainability criteria in order to develop certification schemes of biofuels: e.g. social and environmental criteria at the production stage; accreditation and certification process requirements; and supply chain mechanisms (traceability).

Ulkopuolinen laatija

ProForest, United Kingdom

Striving for Biofuels: Impacts on Land Use and Food Security

30-04-2008

This paper provides a brief overview of the relation of biofuels with land use changes and impacts on food security.

This paper provides a brief overview of the relation of biofuels with land use changes and impacts on food security.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Mr. Bas Eickhout, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP)

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