December 5, 2008

EU sets biofuel target and standards

The European Union has agreed to have 10 percent of its vehicle fuels sourced with renewable fuels by 2020 in spite of warnings from scientists.

Scientists have said that turning forests or grasslands into farmland to make up for acreage lost to biofuel production undermines the claim that biofuels is a clean source of energy, Deutsche Welle reported Friday.

But an agreement between the European Parliament, the European Commission and European Union member states, upholds the 10 percent target proposed in January, as the three parties agreed to count non-food source biofuels twice.

Reports from the United Nations and the World Bank have said that many biofuels produce more greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-based fuels and displace farmlands from their traditional role of providing food.

The reports pressured the European Union to reducing the 10 percent target, the EU Observer reported.

The 10 percent agrifuels target has been seriously undermined, said Claude Turmes, the European Parliament's chief negotiator on the issue.

The agreement also says by 2017 only biofuels that achieve a rate of emissions reductions of 50 percent over petroleum based fuels will be counted toward the 10 percent target, the report said.