Policy update

Proposed amendments to EU Fuel Quality and Renewable Energy Directives

The European Commission is finalizing a new proposal for amendments to Europe’s Fuel Quality and renewable Energy Directives that will address indirect land use change (ILUC) and limit support for food-based biofuels. A draft of the proposal was leaked to Reuters, and subsequently published by ENDS Europe (PDF). At the time the Reuters article appeared, the proposal had not yet been approved by the inter-services group of the European Commission (the forum for other Directorates general to comment on the proposal).

The proposal would introduce accounting for ILUC emissions through ILUC factors (values for the carbon emissions per unit of energy expected to be caused by indirect land use change when demand for a give biofuel increases) in the Fuel Quality Directive, both in assessing compliance with the 6% target by 2020 for greenhouse gas (GHG) savings in EU road transport fuels and in assessing compliance with the minimum carbon saving thresholds. While ILUC factors would not be included in the renewable Energy Directive (except for Member State reporting to the Commission on the impacts of the policy), in order to limit the effect of the EU biofuel mandates on food prices the Commission also proposes that at most half of the 10% renewable fuels in transport required by the renewable Energy Directive may be met with food-based fuels, and that these fuels would receive no support after 2020.

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