After recent negotiations, European Union governments and the European Parliament have agreed upon a proposed directive on renewable energy and biofuel targets.
Members of the European Parliament and the Council’s Presidency arrived at an informal compromise to ensure that the EU will reach its climate target of at least 20% renewable energy share of total energy consumption by 2020.
Under the arrangement, biofuels and electricity generated from renewable sources will account for up to 10% of fuel used in transport by 2020. This agreement is sure to please the EU’s electric car industry; but likely to cause angst with some environmentalists given biofuel’s reputation for putting pressure on land and food resources.
As part of the plan, the Commission will develop ways to gauge and monitor greenhouse gas emissions caused by indirect land use changes – for example, where crops for biofuel production are grown in areas previously used to grow a food crop and the food crop production is moved on to areas that require deforestation. Additionally, to be counted towards the target, biofuels must save at least 35% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels.
The political agreement will also allow for member states to undertake joint projects with other member states for green electricity production, heating or cooling; permitting the pooling of resources and technology. This will also allow green electricity consumed in a member state but produced by joint projects in another country to be counted towards the member state where the electricity is used.
The compromise agreed upon late last night Australia time will still need to be formally endorsed by the full Council and put to a vote at the European Union Parliament’s December plenary session in France.