11 September 2013 16:12 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in support of amendments to draft biofuels legislation, with 356 votes in favour versus 327 against, and 14 abstentions, on Wednesday.
MEPs have voted in favour of accounting for indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) from 2020 and a 6% cap on the use of first-generation biofuels towards European biofuels targets.
ILUC emissions are measured by the carbon emissions released as a result of land-use change brought about by the need for land to be used to grow feedstock crops for biofuels.
"I welcome the Parliament vote in favour of correct accounting for greenhouse gas emissions including indirect land use change and in favour of a reasonable cap on first-generation biofuels. This is an important signal that support should be focused on advanced biofuels from 2020. Taking indirect land use change into account is important for the integrity of the EU climate change policy", said MEP Corinne Lepage.
"I regret however that the Parliament did not give a negotiation mandate that would have allowed the file to be concluded without further delay in order to give industry certainty regarding its investments", she added.
The European RED currently states that biofuels should account for 10% of energy consumption in transport by 2020. However, MEPs today voted that first-generation biofuels must not exceed 6% of energy consumption in transport by 2020.
Whereas first-generation biofuels are being capped, advanced biofuels produced from substances such as seaweed or certain waste residues must account for at least 2.5% of energy consumption in transport by 2020.
Sources in the European fuel ethanol market say the news has not directly impacted the market and remains a more long-term concern.
“This is definitely a more long-term concern and was kind of expected by the industry,” one source said.
“It’s not the end of the game – it’s only the European Parliament vote,” the source added.
The European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) expressed disappointment at the European Parliament’s decision to cap the use of first-generation biofuels in transport and to make biofuels accountable for ILUC emissions, but welcomed a separate cap of 7.5% for ethanol in petrol.
“It is disappointing to see that the European Parliament has decided to significantly reduce the market for conventional biofuels in Europe. At a time when we need to boost our economy, it is difficult to see why MEPs agree to curtail jobs and investment in a sector that helps Europe to grow the production of clean and sustainable fuels,” Rob Vierhout, Secretary General of ePURE said.
“We now look to member states to address this issue and consider a higher cap which will secure the existing jobs, create new jobs and help grow the much-needed investments for green, sustainable fuels that are made in Europe,” he added.
“We are disappointed with the decision to keep ILUC factors as part of the European approach to biofuels. It is premature to ask for accounting post 2020, knowing that the science will only be reviewed in 2016,” Vierhout said.
($1 = €0.75)
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