European legislation could rule that biofuels must produce
savings in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 35% over
fossil fuels, according to a proposal contained in an interim
report from a European Union (EU) working group.
A figure of 50% from 2015 was inserted for discussion, but
is not a final figure, said Slovenia, which set up the ad
hoc group under its six-month presidency of the EU. "The
member states are quite divided on this" - a presidency spokesperson
said. For the European Parliament, biofuel substainability
criteria are essential and various EU member states
have called for tougher criteria.
If the working group fails to reach agreement on sustainability
by the time it is scheduled to present its final report on
7 May, the EU's Coreper system of permanent representatives
will kick-in to try to reach agreement among member state
The working group is trying to reconcile the well-advanced
draft fuel quality directive - which covers biofuels - and
the draft renewable energy directive, which includes a target
of biofuels making up 10% of transportation fuels in the EU
The fuel quality directive is expected to be passed soon,
well before the expected passing of the renewables directive.
"We are working towards a reading agreement in June" - said
the spokesperson. "We wanted to push this directive as soon
The presidency set up the working group because of unhappiness
in the EU at the absence of any sustainability criteria
in the fuel quality directive. It said - "We need to have
coherence in the criteria." The working group has no
mandate to reconsider the 10% biofuels target set by the European
Although there is interim agreement on the emissions-saving
target, this is likely to be revisited when discussion turns
to the formula to be used for calculating the emissions associated
with biofuels production and use.
The group has yet to discuss social and environmental issues,
said the presidency - "There are various ideas."