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Continuation of EU biofuel strategy threatened, says UFOP

January 05, 2015

Industry body the Union zur Förderung und Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) said last October that it feared the EU decarbonisation strategy in the transport sector would be phased out if there was no update to the initial targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the sector, which are binding for all member states.

Industry body the Union zur Förderung und Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) said last October that it feared the EU decarbonisation strategy in the transport sector would be phased out if there was no update to the initial targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the sector, which are binding for all member states.

In view of the European Council’s decision not to update these targets, UFOP believes the continuation of the EU biofuel strategy – the most important element of GHG reduction to date – is under threat. The association said the decision cast doubt on the prospects for the biofuel industry after 2020.

EU heads of state and government have challenged the European Commission (EC) to further develop instruments and measures for a technologically neutral concept to promote emissions reduction and energy efficiency in the transport sector from 2020. UFOP expressed concern that this measure did not recognise the existing success of biofuels. 

The association said it was worried there would be a shift in priorities in R&D, without contributing any tangible relief for climate protection in the period from 2020 to 2030. 

For business groups in the EU and in non-member states, these requirements impact on the generation of raw materials, as well as on transport and processing. For this purpose, the EC has since authorised 17 certification systems. UFOP said it feared that, under the current status of the Council’s decision, this sustainability certification was close to being eradicated.

There was a much greater need for a strategic focus based on the biofuels already on the market, which included expanding the share of renewable energies from diverse biomass sources in a way that was both gradual and open to technology. However, according to UFOP, this concrete resolution is lacking. They claim the policy is based on too-high expectations of technical advancements, whereas policy should be gauged on the basis of past experience rather than future promise.  

Additionally, the authorisation granted by the member states to include the transport sector in the emissions trading scheme was likely to lead to fragmentation in the EU approach to decarbonisation, UFOP said. In contrast, the current promotion of biofuels provided a concrete and effective contribution to diversification based on renewable resources and the reduction of fossil fuels. The decision was, however, a warning to the industry to further explore the issue of technological developments and new investments for the development of new biomass resources.


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