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Copa and Cogeca warn against MEP report to restrict crop-based biofuels

Copa and Cogeca, an organisation that represents farmers and their cooperatives in the European Union (EU) urge MEPs to reject a draft report by MEP Bas Eickhout on the proposed Directive to promote renewable energy when they discuss it October 23, warning that it will "threaten the EU climate and sustainability goals".

Field of flowering flax (Linum usitatissimum), an oilseed food and fibre crop grown in temperate climates.

In a statement October 20, Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned that the “draft opinion and the compromise amendments” by rapporteur MEP Bas Eickhout, set to be voted on in European Parliaments Environment Committee (ENVI) on October 23, aims to “phase out crop-based biofuels and considerably restrict the use of biomass from agricultural and forest and to promote non-biological and intermittent energy sources through electricity”.

This is the wrong approach and will prevent the EU from meeting its climate goals and from decarbonising the transport sector. If the EU wants to achieve its ambitious EU climate and energy policy, the market share of EU agricultural and forest biomass, which has been certified as sustainable, should be able to increase from 2020 to 2030, said Pesonen.

According to Pesonen, the phasing out of crop-based biofuels in accordance with the approach proposed by the Commission and the rapporteur for the Environment Committee would leave more room on the market for fossil fuels due to the timescale and costs required to implement electric mobility.

The proposed cuts would also have a negative effect on the EU agricultural markets mainly on the oilseeds sector and on the EU’s domestic supply of protein-rich by-products used in feed. This is because only a part of the rapeseed, wheat, maize and sugar beet is used to produce biodiesel or bioethanol. The rest is used for feed. The only winners are fossil fuels. We urge for a cap at 7 percent at EU level for biofuels made from arable crops and a blending mandate for crop-based biofuels, Pesonen said.

The proposal to revise the EU Directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources reduces the target for renewables from 10 percent to 6.8 percent by 2030.

The plans also cut the share of conventional biofuels in transport fuel from 7 percent in 2021 to 3.8 percent by 2030 and allow Member States to set up national targets below the one of the EU which is totally unacceptable, said Pesonen.

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