Appearing in a joint press conference with Energy Commissioner
Günther Oettinger, Hedegaard said that the compromise paper was not perfect but
would ensure that future European biofuels were "more sustainable
than they would have been without this proposal."
"Climate-wise, some of the biofuels [receiving EU subsidies] are
as bad as, or even worse than the fossil fuels that they replace,"
she said. (See GLOBE-Net article "Food versus Fuel - The Debate
This is because of indirect land-use change (ILUC), a process
whereby carbon sinks are destroyed outside of
Europe to cultivate land for biofuels crops. ILUC was demonstrated
in scientific models and confirmed by indigenous peoples'
experiences in developing countries.
The new proposal, which will amend both the Biofuels and Fuel
Quality Directives, contains measures aimed at preventing the EU
from providing incentives for the continued displacement of food
crops for fuel. These include:
- A 5% cap on the amount of biofuels in the EU's 2020 transport
- An end to public subsidies for biofuels after 2020 unless they
can demonstrate "substantial greenhouse gas savings";
- A quadrupling of credits for second-generation biofuels, to provide
- A 60% greenhouse-gas-saving threshold that will apply to new
biofuels installations from 1 July 2014;
- A review of policy and scientific evidence on ILUC, which will
take place in 2017.
But the EU backtracked on its initial draft plans to introduce
mandatory accounting for the indirect greenhouse gas emissions of
specific feed-based biofuels under the Fuel Quality Directive.
As a result, first-generation biofuels may still be counted
towards meeting the EU's separate target for a 6% reduction in fuel
greenhouse gas emissions, even though leaked EU data corroborate Hedegaard's
assertion that some may indirectly emit more greenhouse
gas than fossil fuels.