Blog: Now is not the time to kiss biofuels goodbye


When the proposals that led to the RED (Renewable Energy Directive) were introduced, few could have envisaged the rancorous and frequently distorted debate that was to follow. Initially, biofuels were seen as a ‘good thing’: a strident lobby changed that. By 2012, a UK farmers’ representative warned of EU policy makers being “bullied into a U-turn by a series of environmental and social pressure groups that, until recently, stood shoulder to shoulder with industry and praised the potential contribution of biofuels in decarbonising the transport sector”. EU policy makers bowed to the pressure, the source of which has never been entirely clear. The Commission threw a monumental spanner into the works with its 2012 proposals and an industry that, with the right policies, could have released the untapped capacity of EU member states to produce low ILUC bio-ethanol in an environmentally sustainable way was reduced to what one industry leader called a ‘zombie industry.’

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