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Turning point

Information about the organizational /environmental setting of the area:
Biofuels are promoted world-wide for energy conservation and security, reducing greenhouse gases, environmental protection, sustainable development and employment generation. European Union (EU) has been a major consumer and producer of biodiesel. With the oil crisis in 1990s , the use of biodiesel in transportation sector increased and incentive was given for its production.
EU adopted the biodiesel directive in 2003 that indicated 2% use of renewable fuels in the total fuel use in transportation by 2005 and 5.75% by 2010. In order to increase the domestic production of biofuels, the energy crop scheme was introduced in 2003.


Current concerns or issues
Feed stocks such as maize, cereals like wheat, rape seed (arable crops) were supplied for the production of biofuels . Producers received an incentive of 45 euros per hectare if they used the land for growing biofuels. With this, the area of biofuel production grew to an impressive 60% or more of the domestic supply of feed stocks. This alarming expansion also brought worries of increasing pressure on environment leading to habitat loss. Conversion of the wetlands, grassland, peat land, forests land into monocultures of biofuels leading to biodiversity loss was predicted.


Education Intervention
In 2009, EU came up with Energy and Climate Change Package (CCP) with a section having a policy on renewable energy called Renewable Energy Directive (RED). RED outlines three sustainability criteria for biofuels along with the requirement of 10% renewable energy share in transportation by 2020.  


  • Lifecycle GHG emissions from the biofuels should be at least 35% lower than those of the fossil fuels they replace from 2010. GHG emissions reduction should be at least 50% from 2017 increasing to 60% when biofuels are produced in new installations
  • Biofules should not be produced from raw materials obtained in areas of high biodiversity, such as primary forests and areas with native vegetation.
  • Agriculture raw materials produced in the EU should be produced according to the correct agricultural and environmental practices established by the EUs common Agricultural Policy (CAP)”


There were several popular articles, essentially print media that reported the essence of scientific studies pointing out the harmful effects of the biofuel policy on European biodiversity among others.


Accomplishments/ outcomes post-intervention
These reports along with the scientific studies have made policy makers and people aware of the consequences of such policy which has lead to a turn towards policy of withdrawing the incentive harmful to biodiversity.  EU’s recent proposal for consideration includes recommendations to terminate subsidies for crop based biofuels after the expiry of the current legislation in 2020. "The (European) Commission is of the view that in the period after 2020, biofuels should only be subsidized if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings... and are not produced from crops used for food and feed." The proposed share of the biofuels from crops should not be more than 5% of total energy used in transportation in 2020 . In 2011, the crop based biofuel was around 4.5% already. EU is also looking out for biofuels that come from non land sources such as algae, domestic waste and so on.

Aichi Biodiversity Target Addressed

Target 3: Incentives reformed
By 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts, and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national socio economic conditions.

Turning point