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27 March 2010

EU insists there will be no U-turn on biofuel policy

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New environmental impact report suggests the EU may have to cut its biofuel targets, but Commission says it will not reduce 10 per cent renewable fuel target

The European Union has bowed to pressure from environmental groups and published its first major impact assessment into the effect of biofuel on indirect land use change, following concerns that it could undermine the fuel's stated environmental benefits.

However the EU is sticking by its target requiring 10 per cent of all road transport fuel to come from renewable sources by 2020, with the vast majority likely to come from biofuels and has all but ruled out a U-turn on its biofuels policy, despite some media reports to the contrary.

The new environmental impact study for the EU Biofuels Mandate was published yesterday, and details how different scenarios, such as the use of electric cars and second generation biofuels that do not use agricultural land, would affect the emission reductions that are expected to result from the 10 per cent target.

The EU said that although models in the report show that an increase in the proportion of biofuel results in higher indirect greenhouse gas emissions, the net outcome is still positive compared to use of fossil fuels and would not undermine the environmental viability of biofuels.


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