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The proposal to address the issue of indirect land use change (ILUC) in European biofuel policy has advanced in the European Parliament, as MEP Corinne Lepage of France released her draft report in the Environment Committee. ILUC refers to unintended consequences of making biofuels—for example, if a policy preference for corn ethanol creates incentives for farmers to replace carbon-absorbing forests with cornfields, or to raise food prices by diverting corn to fuel. Some biofuels—often called “second generation”—made from non-edible crops like jatropha and algae that can thrive on currently non-productive land, avoid many of these ILUC effects.

Lepage’s proposal will incorporate specific ILUC “factors” into the sustainable criteria of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive and Fuel Quality Directive. This will account for differences in biofuels performance, while the Commission suggested to cap at 5 percent the share of conventional biofuels (biodiesel and bioethanol) in transport under the Renewable Energy Directive. Public subsidies for […]

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