The European Commission has launched a public consultation concerning the biofuel issues in the new legislation regarding the promotion of renewable energy, addressing concerns such as how to achieve a 10% biofuel share while ensuring environmental sustainability.
The consultation follows the recently adopted Energy Policy for Europe, which includes a proposal for a binding 20% target for the overall share of renewable energy by 2020 and a binding 10% target for the share of biofuels in transport. The consultation is aimed at helping the Commission draft proposals to incorporate these targets into legislation.
Biofuels play a key role in improving security of supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transport, while offering new sources of income to people dependent on agriculture, both in the EU and in developing countries. However, these advantages should not be offset by environmental damage through inappropriate land use or outdated production processes. That is why I am glad to announce this consultation exercise, which will help us design a simple and practical sustainability scheme.—Commissioner Piebalgs
The Commission is looking for the views of public authorities, businesses, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties on four questions:
How should a biofuel sustainability system be designed? One possible scheme proposed in the Consultation Paper is the listing of “sustainability criteria” in the legislation. Should a biofuel fail to meet one of the criteria, its use would not count toward national obligations.
Three suggested criteria are:
- Achieving a minimum level of greenhouse gas savings;
- Avoiding major reduction in carbon stocks through land use change;
- Avoiding major biodiversity loss from land use change.
How should overall effects on land use be monitored?
How should the use of second-generation biofuels be encouraged?
What further action is needed to make it possible to achieve a 10% biofuel share?
The consultation will remain open until 4 June 2007 and can be accessed at http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/consultation/biofuels_en.htm.