Today the European Commission issued a proposal for the post-2020 EU Renewable Energy Directive. The proposal reveals a worrying weakening of ambitions by the EU in addressing climate change, energy security and the decarbonisation of the European transport sector. Moreover, the proposed phasing-out of first generation biofuels, by imposing a gradual decrease of the current 7% cap by more than 50% in 2030, will result in a dramatic reduction of the co-produced protein animal-feed and worsen the large EU protein deficit. It will also destroy an industry created by EU legislation and which counts today more than 220,000 jobs, mainly in rural intermediary areas.
The proposed exclusion of conventional biofuels from the incorporation obligation in transport (only opened to advanced biofuels) is the wrong approach. Conventional biofuels have a key complementary role in decarbonising transport; they resulted in some 35Mt of gross avoided CO2 emissions: the equivalent of the CO2 emission of Slovakia in 2013. In addition, they contributed to an overall 116 Mtoe drop in EU demand for imported fossil fuels, corresponding to €30 billion per year savings. Advanced biofuels will not be able to substitute immediately the proposed drop of conventional biofuels in transport, as wrongly anticipated by the Commission.
Thus, the proposed exclusion will deprive farmers from extra and diversified income – with a tangible risk of losing up to 110,000 jobs in Europe – will increase EU fossil fuel imports and ultimately endanger the EU’s ability to meet its COP21 obligations.
Additionally, the proposed differentiation between biodiesel and bioethanol is unjustifiable as it is not science based. As recognized by the Commission many times, and stressed out on several occasions by independent scientific parties such as California Air Resources Board in the USA, ILUC is a theory and cannot be observed nor measured. Only by maintaining a 7% target for protein-generating biofuels, reversing the subsidiarity granted to the Member States which would allow them to differentiate between biodiesel and bioethanol and promoting a gradual and realistic phasing-in of advanced biofuels, long-term stability and legislative certainty can be granted to the overall European value chain. This is further illustrated by the USA Environmental Protection Agency, which announced this same week considerable increase in biofuels blending obligations in the USA, as the best way to achieve decarbonisation.
Reacting to the proposal, Mr. Raffaello Garofalo, EBB Secretary General, considered that “The exclusion of conventional biofuels from the incorporation obligation of fuel suppliers is unacceptable. With the high costs for decarbonisation in transport, this exclusion would likely mean an increase of fossil fuels in transport due to lack of availability of advanced biofuels, and an abandonment by the EU of the COP21 ambitions and objectives.”
Philippe Dusser, EOA Secretary General, reacted indicating that “this proposal, which does not take into consideration protein-generating biofuels, will have a dramatic impact on EU agriculture given the positive externalities of conventional biofuels produced from domestic feedstocks in reducing the animal feed and protein deficit in Europe”.
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) is a non-profit organisation established in January 1997. Today, EBB gathers nearly 80 members across 21 Member-States, which represents 75% of the European output. EBB aims to promote the use of biodiesel in the
European Union and is committed to fulfil International standards for sustainability in GHG emissions and sustainable feedstock. EBB is constantly working towards the development of improved and greener technologies.
FEDIOL is the European association representing the Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry. The sector covers more than 150 facilities belonging to 35 companies in 17 EU countries and employs directly 20,000 people. Its members process oilseeds, refine and bottle vegetable oils.
Founded in 2002, the European Oilseed Alliance brings together the oilseed producing organizations from the main European countries (Germany, France, UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland and Belgium) and represents 90% of European oilseed production.