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Talkin’ ‘bout my (second) generation

By Géraldine Kutas posted Sep 16, 2015
To kick the season off, I’ll be in Stockholm this week to talk about second generation biofuels, and in particular the outlook for ethanol produced in Brazilian bio-refineries. I thought it was a good opportunity to give you a short overview of what I’ll cover. Renewables make up for around 40% of Brazil’s overall energy mix. That’s right, 40%. With a share of around 16% of this mix, sugarcane is the number one source of renewables in the country. Hydropower – the number one renewable in Europe – only comes second in Brazil. Today, sugarcane is used for two things mostly: sweetening your coffee and running cars on ethanol (mainly the juice), and producing bioelectricity (bagasse).

To kick the season off, I’ll be in Stockholm this week to talk about second generation biofuels, and in particular the outlook for ethanol produced in Brazilian bio-refineries. I thought it was a good opportunity to give you a short overview of what I’ll cover.

Renewables make up for around 40% of Brazil’s overall energy mix. That’s right, 40%.  With a share of around 16% of this mix, sugarcane is the number one source of renewables in the country. Hydropower – the number one renewable in Europe – only comes second in Brazil. Today, sugarcane is used for two things mostly: sweetening your coffee and running cars on ethanol  (mainly the juice), and producing bioelectricity (bagasse).

But 2G ethanol opens new opportunities: it reduces GHG emissions by more than 90% compared to gasoline, it increases ethanol production by 50% and it doesn’t compete with food crops as it’s based on crop waste. Indeed, by using the sugarcane residues, second-generation ethanol refining maximizes resources efficiency.

This is what one of Brazil’s biggest energy companies, Raizen, does at its new 2G plant. By using enzymes to transform the cellulose of sugarcane residues (bagasse and straw), the plant produces 42 million liters of second-generation ethanol the cost of which are expected to fall below those of 1GE in the next five years. Interestingly enough, the plant is co-located to an 80-years old sugar and 1G ethanol production facility.

The GranBio plant in Brazil, is another good example of what sugarcane can bring to the energy sector. Aside from the 82 million liters of bioethanol it can produce annually, the plant also co-generates electricity and heat with bagasse and lignin. As such, it produces enough power for 300,000 inhabitants. Not bad for bioelectricity, right?

With the right harvesting and processing techniques, these companies show that second-generation biofuels bring their own set of opportunities, not least of all the ability to literally double Brazil’s biofuels production without increasing planted surfaces, by using waste as feedstock. Also, they’re available all-year long, and they’re almost carbon-neutral.

At a time when energy efficiency, decarbonisation, and waste reuse are topping the environmental agenda, the reality of proven solutions such as bioethanol and bioelectricity must be acknowledged and supported with the right public policies in order to be able to release their full potential.

That’s the story I’ll tell the folks in Stockholm, in a nutshell. Stay tuned for more! 

Let’s be smart(er)!

By Géraldine Kutas posted Sep 03, 2015
Considering the traffic these days in Brussels, it really looks like EU institutions are back to school, and so are we! And talking about traffic and transport, the months ahead will be rich of news in the sector.

Considering the traffic these days in Brussels, it really looks like EU institutions are back to school, and so are we! Let’s have a look at what’s coming our way to give you a little taste of what we’ll be talking about over the next few months.

And talking about traffic and transport, the months ahead will be rich of news in the sector.

COP21 is approaching fast (less than 100 days to go now) and the pressure is rising for World leaders to work towards and reach an ambitious and binding climate deal in Paris. The European Commission has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 40% in 2030, and given the extent of the challenge, all sectors will have to make the necessary efforts to achieve this objective. Indeed, according to the latest Commission reports, the pace of renewables’ penetration in the transport sector has been slow so far (only 5.7% in 2014). All eyes have now turned to the post-2020 framework, around which most of the EU transport debate will revolve in the coming months.

The Commission is getting ready and is scheduled to release a Communication on the Decarbonisation of Transport in the first half of 2016. The question is: what is this strategy going to look like? A few weeks ago, the Commission closed a consultation on the review of the 2011 White Paper on Transport. The verdict? It’s something that UNICA has been advocating for long time: intermediate targets are needed if the EU is serious about achieving its long-term transport decarbonisation objectives. So most of the respondents also said!

The role of electric cars will be important, there’s no one denying that. But in 2030, 90% of EU vehicles will still be running on fuel, according to a recent E4Tech report. That’s why we’ll also need lighter and more efficient cars. The Commission has said it is looking at stricter emission standards for road vehicles. But and perhaps most importantly, we’ll need cars using cleaner fuels. Smarter fuels. And that’s where ethanol can make a difference.

Too often biofuels are seen as a unitary group of transport fuels, regardless of their differences. Smart biofuels are those using production processes, which are responsible and sustainable. Not only do they help decarbonize transport, they can also contribute to a thriving economy. Don’t take our word for it, take that of the Director General of the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)! Brazilian sugarcane ethanol does precisely that. It reduces GHG emissions by 90% compared to traditional fossil fuels, it is mostly grown on degraded pastureland, hence not competing with food crops, and it’s creating good jobs

But that’s not all. You’ve probably heard of ‘Smart Cities’, the more efficient, sustainable cities of the future. Sugarcane ethanol can also help make these cities a reality through waste-to-energy processes. One example: bagasse, the fiber residues resulting from sugarcane processing, can and has been used to generate bioelectricity in Brazil, where this has helped reduce emissions of more than 300 million tons of CO₂ in the atmosphere since 2003. Adding to its lower GHG emissions and air quality advantages over traditional fuels, smart biofuels will need to play a role in urban transportation if we are to build a truly sustainable transport system for EU citizens.

The choice is simple; either we stick with the old policies, which fail to make real progress, or we adopt new, smarter ones, which include a role for all greener transport solutions, including ethanol. We still have a few months to help the EU do that, so let’s get back to work!

UNICA Submits Formal Comments Opposing EPA’s Proposed RFS Changes

By Leticia Phillips posted Jul 29, 2015
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (“UNICA”) this week submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opposing changes to the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (“UNICA”) this week submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opposing changes to the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In the past UNICA has supported EPA's decisions implementing the RFS and as a result of Brazil’s long-term commitment to sugarcane ethanol, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol producers have supplied the majority of the U.S.’ undifferentiated advanced biofuels since EPA began implementing the RFS.Brazil Ethanol Exports

But now, UNICA urges EPA to reconsider its proposal to reduce required volumes of advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels for 2015, 2016, and possibly beyond. UNICA has three issues with EPA's proposed significant reductions of the statutory volume requirements:

  • Lowering the statutory volumes by the specified amounts is not supported by the statue nor necessary, at least in 2016 when Brazil could export higher volumes of advanced biofuels under the right market conditions. We believe EPA understates the capacity and ability of Brazilian imports to assist in implementation. 
  • EPA lacks proper rationale to lower the advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels volumes in the manner and amount it proposes. 
  • EPA's proposed reductions do not support Congressional intent on the RFS jeopardize progress toward increased use of low-emission fuels, nor do they support President Obama's Climate Action Plan or the recently announced bilateral climate agreement between the U.S. and Brazil. 

Brazilian Investments Mean More Supply Than EPA Estimates
Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol producers are investing over $3.5 billion through 2017 in new ethanol pipelines, inland waterways, and port facilities. Sugarcane ethanol production is continuing to rise and preliminary figures for 2015-2016 estimated 7.8 billion gallons produced.

About 65 percent of Brazil’s vehicle fleet is composed of flexible fuel vehicles, which can run on E25 instead of E100, allowing hydrous ethanol production to be dehydrated and fulfill export contracts. This flexible hydrous ethanol market means export commitments would not suffer even if faced with a negative harvest season and thus, lower volumes of sugarcane ethanol.

EPA’s proposal opines Brazil cannot supply the 3-4.7 billion gallons in advanced biofuels it calculates would be required between 2015-2016 under the RFS statutory volumes, and Brazil would be unlikely to reach such figures when its highest level of U.S. exports was 680 million gallons in 2006. But in fact, UNICA forecasts under the right market conditions, Brazil can have the capacity to produce an estimated 2 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol for export to America in 2016, according to installed capacity figures from Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP).

Brazil Ethanol Production

EPA’s At An RFS Crossroads – Avoid The Wrong Route
Congress’ intent in establishing the RFS, EPA’s action to date, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan goals, and the U.S.-Brazil climate accord show international leadership and commitment to ensuring emissions reductions. But EPA's Proposed Rule threatens the integrity of these commitments and UNICA urges EPA to avoid action reducing advanced biofuel imports or prioritizing less-efficient fuels over sugarcane ethanol, certified as 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline.
If EPA continues to assert it has authority and reasonable justification to reduce statutory volumes for biofuels, UNICA urges EPA to:

  • Lower statutory volumes only to the absolute minimum. UNICA supports efforts to increase the annual volumes for these fuels and believes they should not be lowered any further in 2015, 2016 or beyond. 
  • Avoid reducing volume requirements for advanced biofuels or total renewable fuels below 20 percent in 2015 and 2016 in view of statutory reset provisions. 
  • Consider changing Equivalence Values ("EVs") for low-lifecycle emission fuels like sugarcane ethanol to spur further growth in advanced biofuels and help obligated parties meet statutory volume requirements.

UNICA understands EPA finds itself at an RFS crossroads, but EPA needn't rewrite the program’s goals before they can be achieved, and should not unfairly affect Brazilian exports. EPA can stimulate the market for advanced biofuels by keeping as close to the statutory volume requirements as possible and encouraging importation and production of low-lifecycle emissions renewable fuels, rather than discouraging them by lowering demand.

Working Together to Benefit Brazil, America, and the World

By Leticia Phillips posted Jun 30, 2015
Today, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is visiting Washington, D.C. to strengthen the relationship between two of the Western Hemisphere’s biggest nations. But as with any successful relationship, compromise is key on important issues, and President Rousseff plans to discuss several three issues critical to the global ethanol trade with President Obama.

Today, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is visiting Washington, D.C. to strengthen the relationship between two of the Western Hemisphere’s biggest nations. But as with any successful relationship, compromise is key on important issues, and President Rousseff plans to discuss several three issues critical to the global ethanol trade with President Obama.

America’s Renewable Fuel Standard

The issue: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is significant for both America and Brazil’s ethanol industries, and is a central topic for President Rousseff’s visit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel because it reduces emissions 61 percent compared to gasoline. 

Between 2012-2014, over one billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol flowed from Brazil to U.S. vehicles, and while sugarcane ethanol comprised only two percent of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, it provided nearly 15 percent of the U.S. advanced biofuel supply. EPA’s recent RFS proposal significantly reduced target volumes for advanced biofuels below Congressionally mandated levels, but increased requirements for advanced biofuels in 2015 and 2016. 

Our position: Americans deserve access to the cleanest possible fuels, but reducing RFS target volumes threatens the future of U.S. ethanol supplies. EPA should protect the RFS’ integrity by maintaining volume requirements for advanced biofuels, and should guard against using the regulatory process to impose anti-competitive requirements on foreign biofuels.

Climate Change and Transportation Emissions

The issue: Brazil and the U.S. must consider transportation sector emissions as negotiators work toward an international climate change agreement at December’s COP21 conference in Paris. The World Energy Council reports fossil fuels currently represent 63 percent of all global emissions, with transportation fuel generating 28 percent of total U.S. emissions and 17 percent total Brazilian emissions.

Transportation emissions aren’t limited to ground transport however, and biofuels must become viable alternatives to aviation fuel. The international aviation industry is committed to growing at a carbon-neutral rate until 2020 then reducing emissions 50 percent by 2050, but biofuel production and consumption must expand to achieve this goal. The U.S. and Brazil have cooperated on technological innovation exchange since 2011, and numerous commercial and military flights have since demonstrated the potential of aviation biofuels.

Our position: Ethanol is arguably the cheapest option available to replace fossil-based transportation fuel at large scale. Some commercial technologies can reach virtually zero emissions, and every gallon of biofuel creates long-term climate benefits and short-term public health benefits. The U.S. and Brazil must work together to develop solutions on a global scale, including incentive policies (tax or environmental) to encourage production and consumption, or private sector cooperation to drive investment and innovation.

Bilateral Cooperation to Benefit Both Countries 

Brazil and the U.S. are proof pragmatic public policy can create economic growth and environmental benefits. Earth has an urgent need for low-carbon, sustainable transportation fuels, and as the two biggest ethanol producers and exporters in the world, our countries have much to share in experience and technology with other nations. 

As the world’s two largest ethanol producers, Brazil and the U.S. have a responsibility to collaboratively build a global biofuels market providing clean, affordable, and sustainable solutions to the planet’s growing energy needs. Brazil’s government and sugarcane ethanol industry are committed to not only expanding the mutually beneficial relationship with America, but to growing the international biofuels market.

A realistic fuel mix for post-2020

By Géraldine Kutas posted Jun 29, 2015
Here we are! The ILUC file is finally over and now it seems that no one wants to hear more about biofuels, especially the Commission. However, biofuels are alive and kicking and there has been evidence of their presence in the past few weeks!

Here we are! The ILUC file is finally over and now it seems that no one wants to hear more about biofuels, especially the Commission.

However, biofuels are alive and kicking and there has been evidence of their presence in the past few weeks!

During his opening speech at the EU Sustainable Energy Week, Commissioner Cañete focused on energy efficiency and didn’t even mention biofuels, but he emphasized that the transport sector should be prioritized, particularly through the adoption of ever stricter CO2 emissions standards for vehicles. 

In addition, the Commission released the RES progress report showing that the penetration of renewables in transport has been very slow so far, reaching 5,7% in 2014 and concluding that introduction of higher blends of biofuels will be necessary to put biofuels back on track. After all, Cañete declared that “achieving our 10% target of renewable energy in transport [by 2020] will certainly be challenging, yet feasible.”

At the conference on decarbonisation of road transport, on 18 June, biofuels were not on the agenda, but the biofuels industry – and not only them luckily! – made it loud and clear that a post-2020 energy framework should include targets for renewables in transport. I was actually pleased to see that after the conference Commissioner Cañete used again the #biofuels hashtag for the first time in some weeks in one of his tweets. To get clarity of the post-2020 biofuel policy we would however need a bit more than a hashtag, Mister Commissioner!

These are all little hints that we shouldn’t lose hope and still find the energy to advocate for balanced policies on biofuels and decarbonisation of transport post-2020.

UNICA is fully committed to engaging in the next months for a ‘decarbonisation of transport’ policy that includes all options available on the market. If we want to reduce our transport emissions, we will need a diverse mix of fuels and technologies. We can’t just rely on electric vehicles only - just like we cannot rely only on biofuels. Let’s aim for a realistic, greener fuel mix for 2030.

As you can see from the pic below, I had the chance to meet Mr Cañete at EXPO during his visit to the Brazilian Pavilion and hopefully my message came across!

Visit of Commissioner Arias Cañete to the Brazilian Pavilion

Commissioner Arias Cañete, Dr. Roberto Rodrigues and Géraldine Kutas discussing in front of the sugarcane at the Brazilian Pavilion (Expo Milan).

UNICA Statement on Changes to Brazil Tax Policy on Imported Ethanol

By Leticia Phillips posted Jun 23, 2015
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff yesterday signed a decree creating tax parity between domestic and imported products, including ethanol.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) issued the following statement regarding changes to Brazil’s tax policy on imported ethanol. It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff yesterday signed a decree creating tax parity between domestic and imported products, including ethanol.

Ethanol produced in Brazil is subject to a range of federal taxes with revenue allocated to social security, including the social participation program (PIS) and social security financing contribution (COFINS) on domestic production.  Today’s action by President Rousseff will level the playing field between Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and imported biofuels by subjecting foreign renewable fuels to comparable taxation and should not be confused with an importation tariff. 

Today’s decree raises the PIS and COFINS on a number of imported products, including ethanol. These taxes will increase from the current 9.25 percent to 11.75 percent (2.1 percent PIS and 9.65 percent COFINS).  Imported ethanol was exempted from the same level of taxation as domestic products in 2013, but this action resulted in accumulated costs for domestic producers with no commensurate costs for foreign producers.

It is important to note the PIS and COFINS paid on ethanol imports will turn into a credit for the importer, which may then be used to pay other tax debts or be reimbursed by the Brazilian government, having the effect of anticipated taxes that would already be collected. 

Brazilian sugarcane producers have long been strong advocates of removing trade barriers and creating tax parity for renewable fuels.  Today’s action continues that tradition.  Working together, the United States and Brazil have built a thriving global biofuels trade benefiting both countries, and we look forward to continued progress toward shared environmental and economic goals. 

Environmental Goods Agreement - how green are the EGA negotiations?

By Géraldine Kutas posted Jun 09, 2015
I recently attended a conference in Brussels on the negotiations of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). Quite disappointingly, ethanol is not part of the list of green products falling under the scope of the agreement. The biggest challenge of the negotiations is indeed about deciding on the list of products. Every country promoted a list of products, but ethanol was not part of any of the lists suggested, despite its proven environmental benefits.

I recently attended a conference in Brussels on the negotiations of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). The negotiations, which were mandated by the 2001 Doha Declaration, were launched on a plurilateral basis in July last year by a group of WTO countries (accounting for around 86% of the world trade in green goods) including the European Union. It aims to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade for “green goods and services”.

What are we talking about when referring to environmental goods? There is no clear definition yet. In effect, everything that helps us ‘green’ our economies, from wind turbines, water treatment filters to recycling equipment and air quality monitors could be considered an environmental good. It is estimated that global trade in environmental goods amounts to nearly $1 trillion annually.

So far, already six rounds of negotiations have taken place, with the next round scheduled for next week, from 15-19 June. Quite disappointingly, ethanol is not part of the list of green products falling under the scope of the agreement. The biggest challenge of the negotiations is indeed about deciding on the list of products and, by now, already 650 tariff lines and more than 2,000 products are under consideration. Every country promoted a list of products, but ethanol was not part of any of the lists suggested, despite its proven environmental benefits.

Brazilian sugarcane ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 90% on average compared to gasoline and it achieves among the highest GHG emission savings compared to fossil fuels even when land use change factors are accounted for.

My doubts of course are on the credibility that such project will have if products like ethanol are not included in the list and if new countries do not joint. Countries in EGA are in fact already part of lower tariff schemes. So further reducing tariffs may not have a huge impact on GHG emissions reduction, I’m afraid! In the case of ethanol, tariffs are generally very high (0.19€/liter) in the EU. Tariff reductions, then, would have the potential to yield extraordinary environmental benefits.

During the conference, both Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Climate & Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete emphasized the positive impact that EGA could and should have in the fight against climate change and made reference to Europe’s role “as major exporter of clean technologies”.

However, contrary to the Commissioners’ words, it seems to me that, as it stands, the EGA will lead to a list of products selected in a somewhat arbitrary manner, rather than on the basis of their environmental benefits. The EGA looks more, for the time being, like a platform for the negotiating parties to advance their exporting interests when it comes to green technologies than a tool to fight climate change.

Trade is not a zero-sum game. If the EGA negotiating parties are serious about making legitimate progress towards addressing global warming, then they would have to widen the list of liberalized products to include all goods that deliver environmental advantages, such as ethanol.

We’ll certainly monitor with great interest the next two rounds of negotiations next week and in July, when the negotiation parties should narrow down the list of products. 

UNICA comment on EPA proposed mandates under RFS

By Leticia Phillips posted May 29, 2015
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym "UNICA") issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules proposal for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Renewable Fuels Standard. It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym "UNICA") issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules proposal for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Renewable Fuels Standard. It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

While UNICA is disappointed that today's Renewable Fuels Standard proposal from the U.S. EPA significantly reduces target volumes for advanced biofuels below Congressionally mandated levels, we are pleased to see growing requirements for advanced biofuels in 2015 and 2016. This leaves the door open for continued American access to sugarcane ethanol, one of the cleanest and most commercially ready advanced biofuels available today. 

EPA identifies Brazilian sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel because it reduces greenhouse gases by more than 60 percent compared to gasoline.  This advanced biofuel from an American ally plays a modest but important role supplying the United States with clean renewable fuel. For the past three years, more than one billion gallons of sugarcane biofuel imported from Brazil flowed into American vehicles. During this time, sugarcane ethanol has comprised only 2 percent of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, but has provided nearly 15 percent of the U.S. advanced biofuel supply.  

Our association looks forward to commenting on this proposal and will continue to play an active role in the RFS rulemaking process, serving as a source of credible information about the efficiency and sustainability of sugarcane ethanol. Likewise, Brazil will continue to be a strong, dependable partner helping America meet its clean energy goals.

# # #

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing 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

Fancy a visit to Brazil? Brazil comes to you… Come and see us at the Brazilian Pavillon, EXPO Milano 2015

By Géraldine Kutas posted May 12, 2015
This year’s theme of the Universal Exposition EXPO Milano 2015 “Feeding the planet. Energy for life” couldn’t be more spot on for us!

This year’s theme of the Universal Exposition EXPO Milano 2015 “Feeding the planet. Energy for life” couldn’t be more spot on for us!

I’m very excited to present Brazil’s success story with renewable fuels and to organise a conference on “Producing food and energy for a healthier planet: the case of the Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol”, on Tuesday 2 June in the Brazilian Pavillon, Milan of course!

As I mentioned a few times already in my blogs, Brazilian sugarcane industry typically supplies both food and energy, with a minimal use of land. Only 0.5% of Brazil’s territory is used for bioethanol, with which Brazil managed to replace 40% of gasoline. 

Botton Expo Milano 2015

We’ll have a number of speakers , experts in sugarcane, including  former Minister José Goldemberg, Sven Sielhorst from Solidaridad and Simon Usher Chief Executive Officer at Bonsucro, ready to walk you through the Brazilian experience and we hope this may serve as an inspiration for Europe, which is struggling to make a good use of biofuels.

More information on the event are available here! Come and see us in Milan…as an anticipation I can already tell you that the event will be followed by a cocktail with Brazilian food and drinks, where Chef Diego Lozano will talk about the history of Brazilian pastries to interested participants!!!

The Good, the Bad & The Ugly… about ILUC

By Géraldine Kutas posted Apr 29, 2015
After the disappointment of not winning concessions from Member States on any of their main points, MEPs have – against the will of many – voted in favour of the Council ILUC text. Now it’s time to turn the ‘ILUC page’ and look beyond 2020. Policymakers need to set up a credible framework for the post-2020. Low-ILUC biofuels should be promoted and sugarcane bioethanol is one of those.

Members of the European Parliament finally endorsed the COREPER text on ILUC yesterday morning in plenary. After the disappointment of not winning concessions from Member States on any of their main points, MEPs have – against the will of many – voted in favour of the Council ILUC text. Final rubber stamp (for real this time!) should be given by Member States at the next Energy Council on 8 June.

In the meantime, in case you are confused on the outcome of almost three years of negotiations, here below you can find a summary (I couldn’t help thinking about this movie, which also happened to be quoted by Mr Torvalds during yesterday’s debate!)

“The Good”

  •  Little consolation that the final cap agreed is set at 7%. My comment is: better than nothing! We have always criticized such a black and white approach, but we don’t want to be too negative and at least a higher cap than the 5% proposed by the Commission will allow a little share of bioethanol to remain in the EU biofuels market.

“The Bad”

  • The 0.5% non-binding target for advanced biofuels. With no incentives for advanced biofuels, their ability to participate to the 3% left of the 10% RED target is even more in doubt…

“The Ugly”

  • …and, of course, the exclusion from the deal of the 6.5% sub-target for bioethanol. More sustainable biofuels will therefore not be incentivized in Europe and Member States will not move towards an E10 blend. A real disappointment for bioethanol, considering that biodiesel will cover most of the 7% cap.

It’s time to turn the ‘ILUC page’ and look beyond 2020. Policymakers need to start thinking already about the longer term and set up a credible framework for the post-2020. Low-ILUC biofuels should be promoted and sugarcane bioethanol is one of those.

We see two important milestones in particular: the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive in 2016/2017 and the wider discussions around the decarbonisation of transport. In both cases, we will be there to put sustainable biofuels at center stage.

Our Authors

 

Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs & Senior International Adviser to the President of UNICA Géraldine Kutas
Head of International Affairs & Senior International Adviser to the President

 

Leticia Phillips, Representative-North AmericaLeticia Phillips
Representative, North America

 

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