UFOP calls for the obligation of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all EU Member States

Hanover, 17 November 2015 – The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants e.V. (UFOP) suggests that the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which has been in force in Germany since 1 January, be introduced in all EU member states. During the Agritechnica trade fair in Hanover, Wolfgang Vogel, Chairman of UFOP, emphasised that this could give the biofuels sector a positive impetus for the vote concerning the funding policy framework for biofuels after 2020, which is currently getting underway.

With this, the biofuels sector would once again be able to set the course for all branches of the so-called bioeconomy industry. With reference to the cap of 7 percent for biofuels from cultivated biomass, which came into force in September 2015, Vogel referred once again to the union's demand for the introduction of a so-called iLUC-free base quantity from 2020 onwards. This would take the investment protection for existing plant capacities into account. At the same time, production from other types of biomass could be further developed gradually on this quantity basis. Innovation and cost efficiency are better drivers for market introduction than unattainable biofuel quotas involving, at worst, financial penalties for non-adherence.

The evaluation of the data from the first few months since the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was introduced in Germany has already confirmed the positive competition for optimum greenhouse gas and biomass raw materials efficiency. Vogel noted that another factor is of course the price as a prerequisite for market entry. In this respect, all three criteria are interconnected: Firstly, biofuels that are as efficient as possible in terms of raw materials usage would be used in order to meet the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Secondly, taking imports from third countries into account, these would have to face a stricter requirements profile for sustainability certification.

With this distinguishing feature, the German biofuel industry would lead the way in the bioeconomy and set standards that other material and energy production uses of raw materials would have to follow. Up to now, increasingly stringent legal requirements for greenhouse gas reduction have only been set for biofuels. The UFOP chairman emphasised that this reduction must be certified and therefore calculated in a clearly understandable way.

Vogel noted that it is also necessary to calculate the greenhouse gas balances appropriately. He argued that it is unacceptable for consideration of the crop year to still be mandatory in the biofuel directive and for crop rotation not to be included, which would benefit palm oil production of all things. Vogel suggests that crop rotation systems must instead be introduced into greenhouse gas calculations for rapeseed cultivation in order to properly take into account the effectiveness of rapeseed as a preceding crop.