The European Comission has released a report on indirect land use change related to biofuels with the backing of the Renewable Energy Association. The report, carried out over the last two years, acknowledges that indirect land use change can reduce greenhouse gas emissions savings associated with biofuels, but also identifies a number of uncertainties.
Clare Wenner, Head of Renewable Transport at the Renewable Energy Association said: “Moving toward biofuels won’t improve agricultural practices. This has been a real wake up call for global agriculture. We need to employ smarter land use as populations start to increase.”
She added: “Land use change is a function of global agriculture and it would be wrong to ascribe all indirect land use change effects to biofuels. Nevertheless, it is important that biofuels deliver the greenhouse gas reduction benefits that are claimed.”
The 2009 Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives set targets of a 10% share of renewable energy in the transport sector and a 6% greenhouse gas reductions for fuels used in the transport sector in 2020.
Connie Hedegaard, Climate Action Commissioner of the European Comission said: “We have to ensure that the biofuels we promote deliver clear greenhouse gas savings. Although we have developed robust sustainability criteria for their production, we must not ignore any unwanted impacts that may be caused globally as a result of the additional demand.”
Critics have responded to the report with mixed feelings- the report identifies problems but they haven’t decided how to approach the subject and are instead delaying decision-making until July.