Multiple-Authorship blog platform on issues related to sugarcane cultivation and industrial applications
Today the European Commission published a Communication on low-emission mobility which lays down its vision and strategy for transport over the next few decades. While we acknowledges the Commission’s clear support signal towards advanced biofuels – as they certainly represent one way forward to decarbonize transport – we are also deeply concerned about the gradual phase out of first-generation biofuels. As the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) Directive last year, this approach discriminates against all first-generation biofuels regardless of their actual GHG emission reductions. Such a U-turn only creates legislative instability and confusion for investors and does not help the EU in achieving its ambitious climate targets.
By refusing to take into consideration the concrete positive impacts of ethanol produced from sugarcane, the proposal effectively turns a blind eye to one of the cleanest alternatives on the market today.
Unlike other first-generation biofuels, sugarcane ethanol is one of the best performers in terms of GHG emissions reduction, even when indirect land-use change is considered. Moreover, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol does not face the alleged food vs. energy dilemma since, according to recent studies, including by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, 2016), it has a negligible impact on food prices. Other countries are also looking at reducing their emissions from transports. Brazil, for instance, has replaced 45% of its gasoline consumption with sugarcane ethanol and the United States classified this specific biofuel as an advanced alternative.
By progressively eliminating first-generation biofuels, the Commission does not solve the problem of emissions from the 94% of energy in transport which will still be coming from liquid fuels in 2030.
We hope that the assessment of the impact of a gradual phasing-out of first-generation biofuels takes into account the investment already made by the industry. The development of advanced biofuels would depend on a healthy conventional biofuel industry, which is going to face great instability and economic losses in the years to come due to the regulatory shift generated by the ILUC Directive first and this strategy now.
The discriminatory approach towards first generation biofuels makes this Communication on low-emission mobility a missed opportunity.
Now, we look forward to the opportunity to maintain a fruitful and constructive dialogue with the Commission in the upcoming phase towards the new Renewable Directive and a new policy for sustainable bioenergy and biofuels for the period post-2020.
Brazilian Sugarcane Biofuel Producers Urge Increased EPA Support for Advanced Renewable Fuels
By Elizabeth Farina
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) today commented on proposed 2017 renewable fuel standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The association also issued the following statement, which should be attributed to UNICA’s President, Elizabeth Farina.
“Brazilian sugarcane producers are proud of the modest but important role they play supplying the United States with clean, low-carbon renewable fuel. Over the past four years, nearly 1.2 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil flowed into American vehicles. During this time, sugarcane ethanol comprised only 2% of all renewable fuels consumed by Americans, but has provided one-tenth of the entire U.S. advanced biofuel supply.”
“Our official comments make clear that with the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to supply the U.S. with significantly greater quantities of advanced biofuel than the 200 million gallons assumed by EPA’s 2017 proposal.”
“EPA has the ability to stimulate the market for advanced biofuel. We urge the Agency to keep as close to the statutory volume requirements as possible and take measures to encourage the production and import of low-carbon renewable fuels, rather than discouraging these fuels by lowering their demand.”
# # #
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing nearly 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing. More information on sugarcane ethanol and its role as an advanced biofuel is available at www.sugarcane.org/rfs.