Thursday

25th Aug 2016

EU biofuels sustainability criteria 'not green protectionism'

  • Brazil is one of the world's biggest producers of bioethanol, which is derived from sugar cane (Photo: Wikipedia)

European environment officials have denied that sustainability criteria for the import of biofuels is a form of "green protectionism" to be used against Latin American alternative energy products.

"Not by any means are sustainability criteria for biofuels an indication of green protectionism on the part of the EU," said Soledad Blanco, the director of international affairs in the European Commission's environment unit, on Tuesday (4 March).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The commission's proposals for sustainability criteria are linked to the legitimate environmental concerns European and global citizens have," she added, speaking at a press conference during a meeting of some 61 environment ministers from across Latin America and the Caribbean and the EU.

The meeting, which saw Latin American, Caribbean and European environment ministers meet for the first time to discuss cooperation on combating climate change, comes ahead of the fifth bi-annual EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) summit, which will take place in Lima, Peru in May.

Ms Blanco pointed out that between them, the 61 countries from the two regions have substantial power to push forward international consensus on the issue.

The ministers focussed on adaptation to and mitigation of the effects of climate change; sustainable energy technologies, including biofuels; and issues concerning biofuels and deforestation.

Brazilian environment minister Marina Silva gave a presentation to the assembled government department chiefs emphasising the sustainability of the country's bioethanol and the beneficial social effects of the industry in her country.

Brazil is one of the world's biggest producers of bioethanol, which in the Portuguese-speaking Latin American country is derived from sugar cane.

Asked about concerns Mexico has over food price increases that may result from their development, Manuel Bernales, president of Peru's National Council for the Environment, said that combating climate change must be linked to sustainability and social concerns.

"Combating climate change should be linked to biodiversity and overcoming poverty and inequality," said Mr Bernales.

At the same time, he insisted that biofuels from Latin America will meet "the most demanding standards."

Slovenian environment minister Janez Podobnik, representing the Slovenian EU presidency, pointed to an ad-hoc working group that had been formed at the end of February that will look at drafting fuel sustainability criteria for both the proposed renewable energy directive and an earlier proposed fuel quality directive. This group is expected to offer its recommendations at the end of March.

As part of its far-reaching climate and energy package unveiled in January, the commission proposed a target of ten percent use of biofuels in transport, but announced at the same time that any such fuels would have to meet strict sustainability criteria.

The move was made to assuage the fears of environmental groups that far from reducing carbon emissions, on a net basis, they would actually increase them.

Brazil, however, which, along with the United States, produces some 69 percent of the world's supply of ethanol, is concerned that Europe is now getting cold feet over biofuels.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  2. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  3. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  4. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  5. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  6. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  7. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  8. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  9. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  10. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  11. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?

Latest News

  1. Let's fix EU copyright law, for innovation and creativity online
  2. French government tries to defuse burkini row
  3. EU to Turkey: Do you really want to join?
  4. US slams EU competition policies
  5. French diesel committee 'did not cover up for Renault'
  6. EU backs Greek ex-data chief over criminal charges
  7. EU must step up migrant relocation, say Italy and Greece
  8. Merkel seeks post-Brexit vision on EU tour