EP Committee on Environment denies prospects for domestic biofuels

Berlin, 27 October 2017 – The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) expresses its disappointment in the result of the vote in the European Parliament's Committee on Environment on Monday this week concerning the reform of the biofuel policy for the period from 2020 to 2030 (RED II). As a result of the decision, biofuels made from cultivated biomass are to be completely phased out by 2030. At the same time iLUC factors are to be introduced for calculating the greenhouse gas balance as of 2021. There would be very serious consequences for European rapeseed cultivation. Biodiesel made from rapeseed oil could no longer be sold on the market as of 2021.

For years the introduction of iLUC factors for taking into account so-called indirect land use changes has been a highly controversial topic among the scientific community. In the opinion of UFOP, a reliable scientific basis as a prerequisite for a legal regulation does not currently exist. Taking into account the iLUC factors for vegetable oil biofuels – which have previously only been available for reporting – would have the result that legally required GHG savings of at least 60 percent are no longer being possible to achieve. This would lead to the immediate end of today's vegetable oil-based biofuels.

From UFOP’s perspective, iLUC factors addresses the problems surrounding palm oil and deforestation. However, they primarily concern European rapeseed cultivation. This is due to the fact that an average of 6.5 million tonnes of European rapeseed oil was produced from the 11 million tonnes of EU biodiesel. The decision of the Committee on Environment therefore specifically affects European rapeseed producers.

UFOP is also concerned that the EP Committee on Environment in particular is clearly not aware that a narrowing of options for the future use of biomass is also being created in other areas of application with the introduction of iLUC factors in the biofuels sector. This use would therefore also be inhibited.

Similarly, it is incomprehensible to UFOP that the European Parliament is currently being vehemently calling for an European strategy on proteins, while the Committee on Environment wants to withdraw the production of Europe’s most important domestic GMO-free protein source – rapeseed meal – and take away the basis of a livelihood with its vote this week.