Finally: European Union votes to downsize their quest for biofuel

posted at 1:21 pm on July 12, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Europe and the United States alike have both “invested” ungodly amounts of taxpayer money into creating an artificial market for certain kinds of biofuels, as well as particular uses for said biofuels — i.e., forcing fuel companies to blend their product with specified amounts of these supposedly miracle substances — as part of the effort to bring about that all-consuming goal of reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.

Unfortunately, despite years of special treatment from the government and their determined ambitions to transform their favored biofuels into a popular and ostensibly “green” fuel-mixing option, they have yet to catch on based on their own merits — and as it turns out, these supposed merits… well, aren’t. On Thursday, European Union politicians voted to scale back on their quixotically self-imposed quotas for food-based biofuels, not only because of their still comparatively high production costs, but because the marginal lands that they bring into production means that they really aren’t the environmentalist boon everybody initially wanted to believe they were, via Reuters:

EU politicians on Thursday backed a new limit on crop-based biofuels, to fix the bloc’s policy on transport fuels once thought to protect the climate but now suspected of doing more harm than conventional oil.

The vote in the European Parliament’s environment committee will be followed by a plenary vote later this year and will also require endorsement by member states, who are deeply divided on the issue. …

In 2008, an EU target was introduced to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020, most of which would come from so-called first generation biofuels made from sugar, cereals and oilseeds.

Since then, a series of studies has underlined the potential environmental damage caused by some biofuels, particularly biodiesel, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the estimated 13 billion euro ($16.71 billion) EU biofuel sector.

Most recently, a study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – the Commission’s in-house research body – confirmed the findings of earlier EU studies that biodiesel made from crops such as rapeseed does more harm to the climate than conventional diesel. …

Well, what do you know? Hey, maybe it’s not such a good idea to centrally plan your energy economy based on expensive and wildly optimistic greenish whims rather than free-market tested price efficiency?

But, alas; they won’t be backing down on their quotas and standards and what have you altogether, instead merely limiting the share of food-based biofuel used in cars and trucks to 5.5% of total consumption, via the WSJ:

However, it means that to meet its 2020 mandate that 10% of Europe’s transport energy comes from renewable sources, the bloc will be relying on a much-faster expansion of electric cars and commercially unproven biofuels made from nonfood crops. …

The EU wants to turn toward more advanced biofuels produced from nonfood crops or certain types of waste. But industry groups say that the new legislation will cause Europe to turn toward more fossil fuels, since these advanced biofuels aren’t yet ready for mass production.

Electric vehicles will represent between 2% and 8% of total automobile sales in Europe over the coming decade, according to forecasts from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. …

“Biofuels were part of the solution less than five years ago and are now seen as a problem,” said Nathalie Lecocq, secretary-general of FEDIOL, the federation representing the European vegetable oil and protein-meal industry. “The industry will stop investing in advanced biofuels if the EU keeps sending conflicting signals and Europe’s record is so irreversibly tainted with major policy U-turns.”

Oh, advanced biofuels? You mean like the ones that even the United States’ impressive subsidization schemes can’t quite nudge into existence yet?!

Europe’s biofuels lobby is up in arms over the rule changes, and of course, that’s a story with which the United States is all too familiar. We, too, have a Renewable Fuels Standard that requires fuel companies to mix in some amounts of biofuels with their fuel, and it is turning out to be a remarkably stupid experiment that nobody but nobody except that ethanol lobby and their cronyish buddies in the Obama administration even like. Congress has been making moves on partially or fully repealing the standard — let’s hope they do the right thing.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

What with all the bull…t coming out of Strasbourg, you’d think the EU had biofuel enough for the next couple centuries.

coldwarrior on July 12, 2013 at 1:29 PM

OT: Variety has dropped the Hispanic from George Zimmerman. Now he’s just “white”.

http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/with-zimmerman-verdict-near-tv-news-outlets-bear-down-1200561971/

Chris of Rights on July 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Another socialist scheme go awry. But, like all socialists/liberals, they can’t let go entirely. The writing is on the wall, yet these people seem unable to read.

Sadly, Obama won’t follow suit. Likely, he’ll tighten things up here, to ‘make up’ for what Europe is wisely scaling back.

Really — it’s impossible to fully detach a liberal from his failed policies no matter how long or how many times the policy fails. They just come up with a new Five Year Plan that won’t be any better except in liberal Fantasyland and on paper.

Liam on July 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

I’ll answer that potential in 3 letters – ADM.

Steve Eggleston on July 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

About 6 years ago I went to Costa Rica and saw miles and miles of rain forest being burned to make way for Palm Oil Plantations for the European biofuels market. I can’t believe its taken this long for them to smarten up. Then again, how smart can they be to create/make up this problem in the first place.

LakeLevel on July 12, 2013 at 1:33 PM

OT: Variety has dropped the Hispanic from George Zimmerman. Now he’s just “white”.

http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/with-zimmerman-verdict-near-tv-news-outlets-bear-down-1200561971/

Chris of Rights on July 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

When the story first broke last year, Zimmerman was at originally labeled Jewish by the LSM.

Liam on July 12, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Environmentalists frantically searching for Ruby Slippers; magic slippers are the key to Utopia.

BobMbx on July 12, 2013 at 1:37 PM

When the story first broke last year, Zimmerman was at originally labeled Jewish by the LSM.

Liam on July 12, 2013 at 1:34 PM

The simple truth here is that if George’s last name was Velasquez, we’d never have heard of him, and he’d probably be sitting at home watching TV right now, getting ready for another night of patrolling the neighborhood.

This is a media invented crime.

Chris of Rights on July 12, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Iowa starts to panic.

Johnnyreb on July 12, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Wondering how this will impact Brazil’s exportation of Sugar Cane based fuel. The slowing EU market has already dampened their growth.

Zaire67 on July 12, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Ok, I’ll ask: why are we burning our fuel?

Galtian on July 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM

fuel food?

Galtian on July 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM

How much “tax payer investment” did it take to make crude a viable energy source?

JAGonzo on July 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM

EU politicians on Thursday backed a new limit on crop-based biofuels, to fix the bloc’s policy on transport fuels once thought to protect the climate but now suspected of doing more harm than conventional oil.

A farmer needs to burn “conventional” oil to plant and harvest these plants, and he’s taking his land out of food production, and that food needs to be grown somewhere else, requiring more burning of “conventional” oil. That wastes fuel, who’d a thunk it?

Energy Planning for Dummies:

Eat what you can, burn what you can’t eat.

But don’t burn anything you can eat.

How hard is that?

Steve Z on July 12, 2013 at 2:46 PM