Preserving diversity – discrimination against certain biofuels unfounded

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. As obvious as this sounds, as difficult it seems to be for the European Parliament to refrain from making blanket judgments on biofuels. In its session on Tuesday the Environment Committee ruled to limit the admissible amount of current biofuels in road transport to six percent. Such a decision would increase Europe’s dependency on imports, threaten jobs in agriculture and industry and turn back the clock on the energy revolution in the transportation sector. Economically dangerous and scientifically indefensible as it is, the Committee also approved the introduction of generalized penalties for assumed displacement effects (ILUC).

It is highly questionable whether the intended strengthening of advanced biofuels based on wastes and residues – by restricting well-established fuels like bioethanol and biodiesel – will be successful, not least because of their limited availability.

Siegfried Knecht, Chairman of aireg, said: „The transport sector will only be able to directly contribute to climate conservation if all feedstock and technology options have room for development. Especially the aviation sector is searching for economic ways to use sustainable fuels. An artificial worsening of conditions for selected feedstocks will significantly obstruct these efforts. As a result, this would only cement the market share of fossil resources. Instead, the energy supply of the future would have to diversify even further. Land-based biomass from sustainable production has an important role to play.”

Contrasting the Environment Committee, European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc set a positive signal as she presented her ideas of the European Energy Union today, saying that alternative fuels will help to achieve an internal energy market. The final decision on the amendment of the Directives on Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality, the legislation under consideration by the Environment Committee, will have to come from the trialogue of Parliament, Commission and European Council in April where it needs to be significantly revised.