How to design EU biofuels policy for post-2020?

Post 2020 the EU policy framework for promoting biofuel use will alter significantly. As part of our Biofuel ExChange project, IEEP organised two parallel workshops in Brussels and London to discuss with key policy makers and stakeholders, at both the EU and UK level, the options available for a robust EU policy framework to promote only sustainable biofuels post 2020. These discussions were timed to follow the Commission’s White Paper on a 2030 climate-energy package published at the end of January 2014 as well as the continued stalemate in the legislative process to deal with indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts from biofuels. The potential for a new approach to biofuels is greater than it has been for some time.

The purpose of the workshops was to take a step back from the current debates to consider the policies needed to deliver low carbon and sustainable biofuels post 2020. The recent ILUC debate has demonstrated the urgent need for new policies to avoid perverse results and be better informed in relation to both the opportunities and limits to the expansion of biofuel use in Europe. Future policies will need to address the legacy of existing targets and measures with all the associated sustainability risks and should provide real stimulus for innovation in the biofuels sector to ensure significant emission reductions from biofuels into the future.

To take account of the increasing pressures on biomass use from the energy but also other, emerging industrial sectors, IEEP is suggesting that biomass sustainability issues should be addressed in a new EU policy framework governing critical aspects of the use of these resources. Building on the workshop discussions IEEP is developing a paper setting out policy options and the associated risks post 2020. This will be published before the end of the month.