US biofuels critique does not apply to EU – German group

23 October 2009 19:56  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US concerns about the impact of increasing production of biofuels crops on forestry land do not apply to Europe, a German biofuels industry group said on Friday.

The group, Bundesverband der deutschen Bioethanolwirtschaft (BDB), was reacting to an article in Friday’s issue of US magazine Science outlining researchers and scientists’ concerns about an increased use of forestry land to grow biofuels crops in the US.

Also, emissions arising from changing the land use to biofuels crops had not been fully taken into account in assesing the climate impact of biofuels in the US, according to the article.

But BDB warned not to blindly apply this latest criticism of biofuels to EU-based biofuels production.

EU laws do not allow forests to be cleared to make way for biofuel crops, said BDB general manager Dietrich Klein, referring to the EU’s “cross-compliance” regulations from 2003 and 2004.

“The clearing of forests to grow energy crops is thus not possible in the EU,” he said.

Klein said that that in Germany forests were in fact growing at the expense of farm land.

Also, German observers of the US biofuels debate should take into account the high EU sustainability criteria for biofuels production, he said.

In the US, biofuels industry group RFA argued earlier this year that the expansion of corn (maize)-based ethanol would not result in any new conversion of forest or grassland to biofuel crops.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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