T&E: First-Gen Biofuel Use In EU Face 6 Percent Cap By 2020
Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use.
European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen fuels to just 6 percent of the overall supply by 2020. The cap is over the 4.5 percent introduced in 2011.
The cap not only affects food-based biofuels like ethanol, but the energy crops used to make them — and compete for space with food crops. T&E notes the cap correctly identified land use as the “key environmental challenge” regarding first-gen biofuels, and applaudes the Environment Committee for strengthening sustainability criteria for advanced biofuels derived from municipal waste and residues.
The release adds that in 2011, EU member states spent €6 billion ($6.8 billion USD in today’s dollars) subsidizing the biofuel industry; the cap would effectively kill such subsidies after 2020.
Subsidize and then restrict? I wonder if they ever considered just staying home.
"The cap not only affects food-based biofuels like ethanol, but the energy crops used to make them — and compete for space with food crops." Last time I checked--y'know, being a corn farmer and all--corn is both an energy crop and a food crop. As in, there's usable food (or at the very least, feed) product leftover after ethanol processing. And the sources of cellulosic ethanol are nine times out of ten either the unwanted bits (corn stover) or plants that can grow in places unsuitable for food crops anyway.