Farming News - Copa-Cogeca attacks EU biofuel cap

Copa-Cogeca attacks EU biofuel cap

10 Oct 2012

Petrol Pumps

In a letter sent to the EU Commission today, Copa-Cogeca attacked EU Commission plans to impose iluc* factors and a 5% limit on the use of crop-based biofuels, warning the U-turn is totally irresponsible and puts at risk feed supplies for animals, employment and green growth in rural areas across the EU.

In September the European Commission proposed to cut the use of food-based biofuels. The plans to curb production were made in response to concerns that biofuels from crops suitable for food or feed are contributing to higher, more volatile food prices and reducing the overall amount of food available for a growing global population.

Copa-Cogeca argues that it is totally unacceptable to use the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)report which has not been peer reviewed as a basis to introduce iLUC  factors. The model used for the report is not suitable for precisely estimating the extent of land use change and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, due to critical data errors and important methodical problems. For example, they have failed to take into account 410 million ha and the protection measures stipulated in Directive 2009/28 such as bans on land use change are not taken into account.

Copa-Cogeca rejects a 5% cap on biofuels from food and feed crops. The limitation on biofuels from food crops also puts at risk the EU improvement in self sufficiency on proteins to feed animals. This is because only part of the oilseed, cereals and sugar beet crop used to produce biofuels are actually converted into energy. The majority stays in the feed sector, with protein-rich by-products from biofuel production helping the EU to reduce its heavy dependence on imported animal feed. Thanks to biofuel production, the EU rapeseed area has increased since 2000 from around 2 million to more than 6 million hectares in EU 27. The plans also threaten jobs in rural areas. The European Biofuels industry has made investments that amount to 14 billion Euro and is estimated to provide direct jobs to 100.000 European citizens.

In the run up to release of the proposal, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed "Biofuels offer many advantages in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy dependency, providing employment in EU rural areas. And they can be produced in the EU in a sustainable way, without being responsible for land-use changes in non-EU countries Increased biofuel production in the EU also relieves land pressures in non-EU countries to produce soy bean and helps to combat deforestation of tropical rainforests. Today, biofuels are part of the bio-economy in rural areas. The Commissions' plans are therefore totally inconsistent and irresponsible, especially in the current economic crisis, and must be revised".

Notes: iLuc* =  indirect land use change.