Phasing-out biofuels: What’s really at stake?


A new Euractiv Special Report focuses on the biofuels debate now under way in the EU, and what the European Commission’s proposal to phase out crop-based biofuels would mean for Europe’s energy and climate goals, as well as its agriculture sector.

The report includes five articles:

  • Biofuel debate a political hot potato as EU renewable energy law nears home straight: Euractiv’s first article offers an overview on the general political debate on EU biofuels policy after the Commission proposal to cut the use of crop-based biofuels and shift the market towards so-called advanced biofuels.
  • Green MEP: Sustainability criteria will distinguish ‘good’ and ‘bad’ biofuels: In an interview, Dutch Green Bas Eickhout, one of the leading members of the European Parliament on the biofuels issues, discusses the need for sustainability criteria for biofuels. Eickhout stresses the RED II proposal and the need to make a clear distinction between “bad” biofuels like palm oil and “good” ones like ethanol, that also include production of feed.
  • MEP: ‘Sustainable’ biofuels and e-mobility both needed in post-2020 EU transport: Seán Kelly, an Irish MEP who is also a leading figure in the biofuels debate, says the European Commission is wrong to keep tarring all first-generation biofuels with the same brush it uses to criticize palm oil. Rather, he encourages the Commission to favour both “sustainable” biofuels and electric cars in post-2020 transport.
  • Biofuels emerge as burning issue in EU-Mercosur talks: The Euractiv report also looks at an important trade issue, the ongoing EU-Mercosur negotiations that could lead to an opening of the European market to Brazilian ethanol. “It makes little sense for the EU to want to shrink down the market for ethanol – even though it could help achieve decarbonisation and air quality goals – and then give what’s left of that market to Brazil,” says Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE.
  • Biofuels phase-out will raise demand for feed imports, industry warns: Euractiv’s Special Report on biofuels concludes with an article on how a RED II phase out would affect the EU’s feed supply. “Biofuels in the EU are deeply intertwined with global food and feed markets,” the article states. “As the EU discusses its future biofuels policy, their contribution to the bloc’s animal feed supply and impact on food prices have emerged as major battlegrounds between supporters and critics.”

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