The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Yves Le Bouthillier, Annette Cowie, Paul Martin and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray
The aim of this chapter is to examine the regulatory approaches of the European Union (EU) biofuels regime and to analyse the regime’s constraints and the scope it provides for achieving the EU objective of a sustainable reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The contribution of biofuels to the achievement of this objective has been expected to be significant, and thus biofuels have been a policy focus of the EU for more than a decade since the adoption of the first Biofuels Directive in 2003. The Biofuels Directive included an indicative target for Member States of a minimum proportion of biofuels and other renewable fuels placed on their markets of 5.75% of total consumption by 2010. There were further initiatives in this area with the adoption, in the Renewable Energy Directive (RES Directive) in 2009, of mandatory targets for renewable energy in the EU transport sector. While biofuels may be an effective alternative to fossil fuels, the introduction of a large-scale increase in its production and use is a matter of intense debate, particularly with regard to their sustainability. There are several negative side effects to the use of biofuels, some of which could be quite alarming: these include deforestation, impacts on land use and water consumption, and effects on food prices and food security. This chapter starts by giving a brief account of policy developments in the EU in the area of biofuels.
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