by Gunnar Boye Olesen,
April , 2002
Proposal for Biofuels
As part of the EU strategy to fulfil the Kyoto target for reduction
of greenhouse gas emissions (see Sustainable Energy News 35), the EU Commission
has proposed a directive for promotion of biofuels with targets for the
For most NGOs, the main problem is that the draft directive does not include
any regulation regarding agricultural pollution. The risk of this is that
intensive farming for biofuels will cause more agricultural pollution
because of increased use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Another important objection is that the draft directive does not prioritize
among the different biofuels, nor does it recognize the environmental
benefits of using pure vegetable oil and ethanol rather than derivatives
such as rapeseed oil methyl ester (RME) or mixtures. Pure vegetable oils
can be produced locally on farms; they have no environmental or health
impacts in distribution and storage. The main drawback of the pure oils
is that they require changes in the motors and/or fuel system.
Third, the draft directive includes an option for targets beginning in
2009 for mixing biofuels into normal petrol and diesel. Use of such mixtures
will not realise some of the benefits of biofuels, such as the opportunity
for local production or the reduction of environmental impacts of the
While there is no joint NGO position on the draft directive, it seems
obvious to demand that:
biofuels not be allowed to increase agricultural pollution. One
option would be to give the largest tax reduction for organically grown
support be given to pure vegetable oil and ethanol rather than
to less environmentally benign derivates;
there be no EU demand for mixtures of biofuels in mineral oil products;
there be firm national targets for renewable energy in transport.
Further, we suggest that the scope of the directive be broadened to include
all types of renewable energy in transport. Windpower used for trains
and trams is just as good for the environment as are biofuels in cars.
The council of energy ministers will discuss the issue on June 7, 2002.
A decision might be made in November.
See draft directive at http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/biomass_action_plan/doc/2005_12_07_comm_biomass_action_plan_en.pdf
and search: Commission
Information and Investment Limitation in EU?
At the EU Summit in Barcelona in March, it was decided
that EU businesses can choose their own electricity and gas supplier(s)
after 2004. As part of the same revision of the Internal Energy Markets,
it has been proposed that all consumers should be able to see on their
energy bills a listing of the sources of their electricity. It has also
been proposed to limit the ability of nuclear power companies to use their
decommissioning funds as investment capital. Both proposals are strongly
supported by INFORSE-Europe and other NGOs. It will be exciting to see
whether we manage to have the proposals included in the final decision