July 18, 2013
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on 11 July to advance measures that promote advanced, environmentally sustainable biofuels and cap production of older, first-generation biofuels that have indirect land-use change (ILUC) effects because they substitute food cropland for fuel cropland.
By a 43-26-1 vote, the committee endorsed the proposal to cap at 5.5 percent first-generation biofuels’ share under the EU’s 10 percent target for renewable energy use in the transport sector—higher than the European Commission’s proposed 5 percent cap. The proposal would also set a minimum target of 2 percent for advanced biofuels, such as those made from algae or waste products, without depriving other industries of raw materials, destabilising European waste policy, causing deforestation, negatively affecting biodiversity, or other ILUC effects.
The aviation industry is committed to developing and using these high-efficiency advanced biofuels. These fuels can reduce the sector’s carbon footprint, provide a more diverse (and thus resilient) supply of energy, and develop a new, environmentally progressive industry. And as the industry develops these fuels, it is taking care to ensure they avoid ILUC effects.
The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (or SAFUG, a consortium of which Boeing is a part) has called for policymakers to consider mechanisms to lower the contribution of high-ILUC-risk biofuels and create incentives for sustainable fuels that have been certified as having low risk of ILUC. SAFUG members made a public pledge to promote robust standards for sustainable aviation fuels. The aviation sector is actively involved in a number of advanced fuel projects that utilize non-food crops and wastes or residues, and it strongly supports these technologies as a means to produce high quality drop-in fuels that mitigate ILUC risk.