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Biofuel energy used as transport fuels can now only contain 7% from food sources. This is after EU ministers agreed to cap it.
Concerns had been raised before that food-based biofuel energy is increasing food costs and damaging the environment.
Non-food biofuels will now need to play a more important role than ever before. This is because the EU did not alter their target that by the year 2020, at least 10% of transportation fuel should come from biofuel energy sources.
In 2013, environmentalists tried to get the EU to limit food-based biofuels to 5%. However, the ministers rejected it.
While it was initially believed that using biofuel energy as a transport fuel would dramatically decrease greenhouse gas emissions, research has shown that hasn’t been the case. This is because more land is being cleared so more crops can be grown for food and energy production. So biofuels haven’t necessarily been good for the environment.
Maize and rapeseed are the most common crops used to create biofuels used for transport fuels. They currently make-up around 5% of total biofuels.
In order to encourage biofuel energy production from other sources, the EU has created a target for biofuels. They want at least 0.5% to come from non-food sources, e.g. waste products or algae.
Currently it’s the Renewable Energy Directive who has enforced the 10% renewable fuel aim by 2020. However, it is speculated that some EU countries will find it difficult to reach this target. This is because the non-food biofuel target, is not a compulsory target.
Environmentalists have said they’re happy that the EU has finally realised that food-based biofuels create more CO2 emissions than they produce. However, they are still cautious of the new regulation, as it remains to be seen what will happen.
They said it does not make people switch to fuels that they know are a lot cleaner. However, the main thing is that they are happy that it has now been recognised that secondary emissions are formed by biofuels.