No Agreement in EU Commission regarding Indirect Land Use Changes

UFOP welcomes intensive discussion

German and European oilseed growers are relieved that the debate centred around appropriate consideration of indirect land use changes (iLUC) has not yet come to a conclusion even after statement in the committee of the Commission on Monday last week. The responsible Directorates General “Climate Protection” and “Energy” have so far not been able to agree on a proposal. The Chairman of the UFOP, Dr. Klaus Kliem, agrees with this, the arguments put forward by the economic groups in the Commission obviously having been received. The introduction of across-the-board iLUC factors favoured by the Directorate General “Climate Protection” is a mistake. An entire sector all over the EU, from agriculture through to processing into biodiesel and bioethanol, has been resisting the scientifically dubious results of the so-called IFPRI report concerning evaluation of the indirect land use changes.

The UFOP regards the introduction of biofuel specific iLUC factors as an existential threat to European oilseed cultivation and to the operators of biodiesel plants. Across-the-board iLUC factors are a mistake. Without doubt, it would call for a solid statutory and regulatory foundation to develop European biofuel production further, stated Dr. Kliem. History confirms that non-binding target objectives have only spurred on a few member states to use biofuels to bring about a withdrawal from a fuel supply that is dependent on fossil fuels. Only with the introduction of binding target objectives in 2009 has climate protection policy in the EU got into the swing necessary for this.

German and European rapeseed growers had set store by this new market right from the start. Throughout the EU, billions of euros were invested in establishing a biodiesel production capacity of around 21 million tonnes. A long-term protection of trust has to be in place for these investments. With today's margins, these plants could not be amortised in 10 or 15 years. European oilseed cultivation should also not be written off to the same extent, demanded Dr. Kliem. It cannot be the case that local raw material producers are driven out of the market in the EU due to the introduction of across-the-board iLUC factors while these gaps are closed by dubious refuse materials or only by bioethanol. With this concept, German and European oilseed growers would be penalised for aberrancy in third countries, in which natural woodland is not only deforested on account of biofuels.

ILUC factors have more of a detrimental effect on virgin forest conservation than a beneficial one because raw material producers will seek other markets. The introduction of generalised iLUC factors would result in more land use changes and deforestation of natural woodland, predicts Dr. Kliem. The UFOP consequently believes in the promotion of an adequate area protection in the affected risk regions via the EU, for example through additional sustainability requirements for certain categories of biofuels.