UFOP rejects reduction of the cap for biofuels from cultivated biomass

The GHG Quota Act regulates market balancing

Berlin, 2 Mai, 2022 - The Federal Environment Ministry's initiative to reduce the so-called cap on biofuels from cultivated biomass has met with incomprehension. The UFOP rejects the idea. UFOP emphatically rejects any change to the existing regulation. Behind the utilisation of rapeseed oil for biodiesel is a production and processing structure that has grown over decades and is now closely networked with other branches of industry, including the food industry.

UFOP underlines the importance of the rapeseed meal produced during rapeseed processing. In this country, about 9 million tonnes of rapeseed are processed annually into about 4 million tonnes of rapeseed oil, of which about 0.85 million tonnes are used for edible purposes. The rapeseed meal produced during processing corresponds to an avoided cultivation area of about 2 million hectares of soy in other regions of the world. Rapeseed meal replaces soy meal in dairy cattle feed and is the basis for the "without genetic engineering" label. Federal Environment Minister Lemke must explain how this demand for GMO-free soy is to be met in the future. Additional cultivation areas are needed for this cultivation. The change in the cap thus triggers relocation effects to third countries. Nothing is gained, says the UFOP, probably the opposite will happen.

For the UFOP, a change in the cap is also incomprehensible because the national limit of 4.4 % of final energy consumption was set below the maximum cap of 7 % possible under EU law anyway. This compromise reached in the context of the amendment of the GHG Quota Act must not be tampered with, the UFOP demands. The association also points to the strict and constantly tightened requirements for proof of sustainability and greenhouse gas reduction throughout the entire production chain, which could serve as a model for the food production sector.

The UFOP emphasises the importance of biofuels from cultivated biomass in the overall range of renewable fuels from residual and waste materials. So far, these are the only noticeable contribution to climate protection in transport. The UFOP notes that e-mobility has so far only made a manageable contribution to climate protection because the energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels. Nevertheless, the purchase of vehicles is subsidised to an amount equivalent to three times the per capita income in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the contribution of e-mobility is currently important in order to reduce dependence on fossil imports from Russia.

UFOP recommends that Federal Minister Steffi Lemke take a closer look at the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Quota Act. The law, for which the Federal Environment Ministry is responsible and which has attracted international attention, has triggered a competition for efficiency. This is because the companies obliged to reduce GHG emissions are interested in achieving the best possible price-performance ratio with regard to GHG reduction. This efficiency competition, which is unique in climate policy, has reduced the quantity required to meet quotas. For example, the share of biodiesel from rapeseed oil in the biofuel mix has practically halved since 2014 compared to 2020. The payment to be made in the event of non-fulfilment of the quota (penalty) is preferably paid if the biofuel is more expensive in relation to this. This is currently the case due to the price increase on the agricultural commodity markets. The UFOP states that legal intervention is therefore not necessary because the existing legal regulations balance out the market.