August 2009 news

26.08.09 EU divided over effects of indirect land-use change

From land to engine, biofuels continue to stoke up debate about environmental and social sustainability.

Large subsidies and quotas for biofuels are wreaking social and environmental havoc and in many cases exacerbating climate change, a new report from Christian Aid concludes.

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(source: Biofuels International / Christian Aid)


20.08.09 EU divided over effects of indirect land-use change

The European Union (EU) is currently divided with respect to the method used to calculate emissions resulting from the effects of indirect land-use change (ILUC). ILUC is the phenomenon whereby, by producing biomass at one location, rainforests are destroyed at another location. By destroying areas with a high natural value, not only is biodiversity threatened, but large amounts of greenhouse gases are released (that are stored in the soil and/or plants). In extreme cases, the application of biofuels can have a negative effect on the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The EU Member States, and a number of non-Members (such as Brazil), are currently discussing various ways to approach the effects of ILUC.

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(source: GAVE-news / European Commission)


17.08.09 European Biomethane Fuel Conference, 7-9 September in Göteborg

The city of Göteborg, Sweden, will be the venue of the European Biomethane Fuel Conference on 7-9 September this year. The event is part of the European Union funded Biogasmax project - a platform for research and innovation developments on biomethane as a vehicle fuel.

This event will draw together the expertise on the production, upgrading and distribution of biomethane, management of transport fleets and environmental assessment to make a strong case for the production of biomethane from organic waste, and its use in transport applications.

Presentations will include, among others, good practice from Sweden, France, Switzerland and Italy, as well as insights about the gas vehicle market, and upcoming European Commission policies and visions for the future in this area.

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14.08.09 Criteria for greenhouse gas emissions of palm oil, now out for consultation

Manufacturers of biofuels in the U.S are lobbying the U.S Congress for a share of the free carbon permits needed to emit carbon dioxide under the Obama administration's proposed carbon-trading scheme.

The Bill passed by the House of Representatives last month would give away 85 percent of the permits to pollute to industries regarded as essential in the first years of a cap. The remaining 15 percent would be auctioned. The Bill earmarks 2 percent of the free carbon credits for the oil refining industry, but none for biofuels production, which also emits carbon, as does any industrial process.

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(source: Biofuels International)


13.08.09 Criteria for greenhouse gas emissions of palm oil, now out for consultation

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has recently published a draft version of modifications to the principles and criteria regarding the greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil production. Comments to the document (available on RSPO's website) should be submitted before 10 September 2009.

Based on the input provided during the public consultation, this document will be amended and elaborated, and ultimately be a background document for the GHG Working Group's recommendations to the RSPO Executive Board.

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(source: GAVE-news)


10.08.09 Despite difficulties, biofuels market in Latin America bouyant

Biofuels is a 'hot' topic in Latin America with market participants strongly pursuing growth strategies to leverage this market according to a report from analysts at Frost & Sullivan.

The biggest fallout of the economic slump has been the lack of credit, which is reducing investments in biodiesel as well as bioethanol. Additionally, the decline in oil prices makes uncertain the viability of biodiesel as a cost-effective fuel. In Brazil, some mills were constrained to withdraw expansion projects for an undetermined period due to debits. Several mills also laid off employees that are likely to be cost burdens when the harvest period begins, and therefore, the companies will have to contract and train workers again.

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(source: Biofuel Review)


06.08.09 EU mulls extending green criteria beyond biofuels

The European Commission has begun consultations on tackling indirect land-use change caused by agro-fuel production, floating the idea that such criteria could be applied more generally to a range of other agricultural commodities.

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(source: EurActiv)


03.08.09 EU and China announce support for sustainable palm oil

The European Union has announced that it will support Indonesian palm oil manufacturers who make their production so sustainable that their emissions are reduced by at least 35 percent. Companies that fulfil the latter, and, who do not use land with a high biodiversity value or land with high carbon storage levels, may apply for investment support and tax reductions.

Large manufacturers and users of palm oil in China have also announced that they will provide more support for sustainable palm oil. China is the world's largest importer of palm oil, and a recognition of the importance of sustainable production could provide a significant boost to the global market for sustainable palm oil.

(source: GAVE-news / AGD)