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EBB slams EU thinking on biofuel land use impacts

05 Aug 2011 17:10 (+01:00 GMT)
EBB slams EU thinking on biofuel land use impacts

London, 5 August — Europe's biodiesel producers have commissioned an independent review of a policy document on biodiesel's indirect effects on land use change, which the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) maintains has skewed the European Commission's thinking on the subject to the detriment of the European biodiesel industry.

The commission has yet to define its methodology for gauging the possibility that diverting additional land to agriculture to feed biofuels demand could be increasing carbon emissions, an issue commonly referred to by the acronym ILUC. But several reports commissioned by the EU, which were subsequently leaked, have suggested incorporating ILUC into carbon calculation methodologies could have a negative impact on biodiesel made from virgin vegetable oils.

The EBB said that it is “deeply concerned” that the commission could be relying heavily on a recent report into ILUC by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which it said has been researched using a flawed methodology.

In particular, EBB criticises the IFPRI report for underestimating the positive impact of increased oilseeds production in increasing animal feed production, containing flawed calculations on the amount of substitution between vegetable oils — which occurs in the EU market — and failing to include improvements in agricultural productivity among its calculations.

“It is difficult to understand why IFPRI finds high indirect emissions related to biodiesel production, as EU biodiesel has intrinsically a low ILUC risk,” the EBB said. “Biodiesel production from rapeseed generates large volumes of animal feeding substituting imports of proteins from South America. More generally, the fact that the EU is relying exclusively on a study performed by a US research body in a way that could penalise an entire European industry is alarming.”

EBB has commissioned Dr Don O'Connor of (S&T)² Consultants and Professor Gernot Klepper of the Kiel Institute for World Economy, to perform a critical review of the IFPRI study. The EBB expects to present its findings in September, when the college of commissioners will consider the findings of the commission's ILUC impact assessment.

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