EU brushes off fears about impact of biofuel targets

14 January 2008 13:09  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--The EU will keep its target of producing 10% of its energy requirements from biofuels despite apparent criticism of the policy on Monday by environment commissioner Stavros Dimas.

Dimas said he had concerns that setting the figure too high could lead to the excessive commercialisation of biofuel crops such as palm oil, with potentially damaging environmental and economic impacts.

“The environmental problems caused by biofuels and also the social problems are bigger than we thought they were. So we have to move very carefully,” Dimas told the BBC.

But a spokesman for energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, whose department will on 23 January publish the European Commission’s proposals on how to achieve this 10% target, stressed that Dimas’ comments would not mean a change in policy.

“The target will remain unchanged,” he said. “We had a clear mandate from the member states at the European Council in March 2007 to include a 10% minimum target for the use of biofuels, and we will comply with that demand.”

“Commissioner Dimas is of course closely involved in setting the targets for the use of biofuels, since one of the principal aims of the policy is to combat climate change,” he added.

“That is why we will propose on 23 January that this target is met in a way that causes no damage, or at least less damage than would be caused by continuing to use fossil fuels.”

The spokesman added that the final details of the EU’s biofuels strategy - excluding the 10% target - would be finalised at the EC meeting.

“We have included very strict environmental criteria that will have to be fulfilled, which include ensuring that producing biofuels do not produce more CO2 than they save,” said Piebalgs.

The Royal Society criticised the UK's own 5% renewable fuel transport obligation for not including an emissions reduction target

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels

By: Chris Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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