EU must not sabotage the Energy Revolution – Bioenergy and Biofuels are needed!
Joint Explanation of Farming and Bioenergy Production
The plans put forward by the European Commission regarding a change to the Renewable Energies Directive and the Biofuels Directive are an unashamed U-turn. The planned effective halt in the use of biofuels and bioenergy would obstruct the conversion to a supply structure involving renewable energies. Thanks to its storage capacity, bioenergy represents a central element underlying a reliable provision of electricity, heat and fuels derived from renewable energy sources.
The signatory associations, organisations and enterprises therefore request the following from the EU Commission, Council and Parliament:
- Continued pursuance of its “decarbonisation” strategy, i.e. the implementation of incentives towards greenhouse gas emission in bioenergy policies. At the same time, the sector expressly avows that the source of the biomass must be ensured from sustainable production. That must also apply for imports.
- Rejection of an ILUC factor (emission factor for indirect land utilisation changes in third party countries / rainforest deforestation) as an addition to local land usage. Instead, import bans should be put in place for biomass causing massive negative climate effects due to illegal deforestation etc. The EU must therefore solve this problem by way of bilateral negotiations.
- No disadvantage in respect to “conventional biofuels” based on renewable raw materials. There must not be any exaggerated favouring of residual and waste materials due to a double or even fourfold apportionment, as this would ultimately lead to an increased use of petroleum, rising greenhouse gas emissions and higher costs for consumers.
The signatory associations and organisations profess a “food first” approach in agriculture and farming. This is ensured in the case of biodiesel produced from rape seed and bioethanol derived from sugar beat or cereals, as these biofuels are produced in conjunction with valuable protein and concentrated fodders as well as foodstuffs. The “food“ vs. “fuel” dichotomy is a media issue in Europe, not a real conflict.
Bioenergy has meanwhile become an important element in the strategic orientation of energy supplies in many member states. The framework conditions underlying subsidy policies and national action programmes have been oriented towards this goal. Billions of euros have been invested in the past few years, this accompanied by the implementation of research and development activities on a large scale. The introduction of a sustainability certificate for biofuels last was a milestone en route to safeguarding the origin and greenhouse gas reduction among open international markets for biomass.
The U-turn intended by the EU commission would undermine the confidence of business in respect to investment in the bioenergy sector. New investments in lower-emission biofuels would be stonewalled because a different regime with ILUC factors and arbitrarily increased apportionment of waste and residual materials would not provide any reliable basis for long-term investments whatsoever. In reality, a clear distinction between residual materials on the one hand, and foodstuff or fodder raw materials on the other hand, is not possible.
In view of petroleum’s ever greater scarcity (peak oil) and the environmental degradation accompanying its production and use, bioenergy including biofuels will continue along its own path in the long run, even without government subsidies. However, value added chains and access to markets achieved over years must not be sacrificed. European and national policies should remain on course towards sustainable bioenergy production.
Berlin, dated 5 October 2012
Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Grundbesitzerverbände e.V.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Waldbesitzerverbände e.V. (AGDW)
Bundesverband BioEnergie e.V. (BBE)
Bundesverband der deutschen Bioethanolwirtschaft (BDBe)
Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie e.V. (BEE)
Bundesverband Dezentraler Ölmühlen e.V. (BDOel)
Centrales Agrar-Rohstoff-Marketing- und Energie-Netzwerk C.A.R.M.E.N. e.V.
Deutscher Bauernverband e.V. (DBV)
Fachverband Biogas e.V.
Fördergesellschaft Erneuerbare Energien e.V. (FEE)
Holzenergie Fachverband Baden-Württemberg e.V. (HEF)
Industrieverband Haus-, Heiz- und Küchentechnik e.V. (HKI)
Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP)
Verband der Deutschen Biokraftstoffindustrie e.V. (VDB)
Verband der Ölsaatenverarbeitenden Industrie in Deutschland e.V. (OVID)
Verband Deutscher Biomasseheizwerke e.V. (VDBH)
Download the joint explanation here.