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UNICA disappointed by ENVI vote on the RED II proposal

São Paulo and Brussels, 26 October 2017—The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association – UNICA – has expressed its disappointment with the vote of the Environment Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament on biofuels that took place on Monday 23 October.

In its vote, the committee moved to reduce the cap on most crop-based biofuels further from the 3.8% proposed by the European Commission to zero by 2030, while low-ILUC biofuels would not be phased out. However defining what constitute low-ILUC biofuels is extremely problematic, as there is still no satisfactory, predictable methodology in place based on verified data and sound review process for reliable ILUC calculations.

UNICA therefore calls on the European Commission to develop and deliver a coherent, complete and transparent methodology to calculate indirect land use change.

Commenting on the vote, which passed by only a narrow majority, UNICA’s Head of International Affairs, Géraldine Kutas, said: “We are disappointed by this vote, which is a regrettable step which we feel will result in more, rather than fewer, emissions. More fossil fuels will be consumed as crop-based biofuels are phased-out. This does not augur well for a low-carbon transport future for Europe. It is also lamentable that the committee did not agree on an overall renewables target in Europe’s transportation sector.”

The widespread deployment of sugarcane ethanol in Brazil has resulted in reducing transport emissions there by 370m tonnes of CO2eq in just 13 years.

The vote represents a volte-face, coming only two years after a framework for biofuels was agreed upon and before the effect of that policy could be properly assessed. Such a rapidly shifting policy landscape undermines investment certainty. Indeed, by voting for the phase out of most first-generation crop-based biofuels the Environment Committee has effectively sounded the death knell of the biofuels sector in Europe, seriously undermining any prospect of the development of advanced biofuels. The achievement of advanced biofuels – a stated aim of the European Commission – is dependent on a viable first-generation biofuels industry, which is in the front line of developing second-generation biofuels. 

UNICA is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing 60% of the country’s sugarcane production and processing. UNICA’s priorities include serving as a source for credible information and analysis about the efficiency and sustainability of sugarcane products, particularly ethanol and bioelectricity. The association works to encourage the continuous advancement of sustainable practices throughout the sugarcane industry and to promote sugarcane-based biofuels as a clean, reliable alternative to fossil fuels.

Contact: Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs, 0495/120869, geraldine@unica.com.br


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