Tag Archives: biofuels

EU biomass targets put pressure on global land resources

The EU’s renewable energy targets and not just biofuel mandates have potentially adverse effects for rural communities in developing countries, but requiring sustainability criteria is only a partial solution.

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Leaked Commission figures sound death knell for biodiesel

Leaked figures for the Commission’s default values for carbon emissions from biofuels including indirect land use change suggest biodiesel might no longer be eligible to be counted against the EU’s renewable transport energy target.

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Farming and the depression

Is it too early to call it a depression? Difficult to tell, but all the news this month is pointing in that direction. So it is timely that over at the CAP2020 blog, Martin Farmer has written a lengthy post on the impact of the global economic slowdown on farming. In many respects, it’s a [...]

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Vision for the future of the CAP

The influential Land Use Policy Group will be launching their vision for the future of the CAP after 2013 in Brussels on March 30th. This will be an important event in the long-term effort to clarify thinking about future policy so that it delivers benefits to the environment and rural communities.

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+++ Breaking news: world’s peat lands under threat from EU biofuels law +++

I’m told that the Finnish and Swedish governments (backed by the French EU Presidency) are working right now to insert a loophole to new EU biofuels sustainability standards that would allow the destruction of the world’s peat lands, with appaling consequences for increasing global greenhouse gas emissions. Chapter and verse from BirdLife International after the [...]

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The last word on biofuels

It’s December and the weekend newspaper supplements are already starting to swell with all those ‘end of the year’ reviews – on news, sport, books, films, celebrity gossip… In the same spirit my German Marshall Fund colleague Dr Tim Searchinger has written a policy brief that brings together in one place the conclusions of ten [...]

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The great targeting debate

Czech agriculture minister Petr Gandalovic made an curious statement at the informal Agriculture Council meeting held earlier this week in the French Alps. Mr Gandalovic, who will assume the chairmanship of the Council under the Czech EU Presidency in the first half of 2009, told his colleagues: “The more specific you make the policy, the [...]

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Should the E.U. stick to its target to reach 10% biofuels by 2020?

Barroso’s poll results – 87% say ditch biofuels target

Several bloggers have noted the amazing disappearing biofuels poll (an online poll about EU biofuels policy that suddenly vanished from the website of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso without any explanation). Following repeated enquries to the Commission President’s press office that were completely ignored, a more formal approach under the EU access to [...]

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Pressure grows to drop EU biofuels targets

Three new reports published this week have called on the EU to drop or severley scale back its biofuels targets. These latest interventiosn by the European Parliament Environment Committee, a study group commissioned by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a leading Brussels-based think tank show that the tide has now firmly turned against the [...]

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New Humboldt University report on global market trends

Another study forecasting higher real food prices for the next decade has recently been published by three authors associated with the Humboldt University in Berlin led by Professor Harald von Witzke. The working paper provides a useful qualitative survey of the reasons why agricultural supply will have difficulty in keeping up with the demand for [...]

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Barroso’s biofuels poll – update

A couple of week’s ago Berlaymole noted the mysterious disappearance of the online poll about EU biofuels policy from the website of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The poll had asked respondents the following question: Should the E.U. stick to its target to reach 10% biofuels by 2020? – Yes – No The [...]

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Barroso’s disappearing biofuels poll

For the past couple of weeks José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has been running an online poll on his website, asking visitors to express their opinions on EU’s biofuels policy. At the last count, some 89 per cent of the 60,000 respondents had voted for the EU to drop its biofuels targets, [...]

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The mixed up world of US Senator Chuck Grassley

We all know that the legislators who write US farm policy are not the brightest bulbs in the box. Even so, Senator Chuck Grassley treated us to an unusual insight into his own very special, mixed-up world during a telephone press briefing last week, reported in the Des Moines Register. Asked about the contribution of [...]

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Stefan speaks out

Before he joined OECD, I would run into agricultural economist Stefan Tangermann from time to time at conferences. I was always impressed by his contributions so it is interesting to read his interview with Agra Focus, one of the latest in an excellent series. In a long interview, he had many interesting points to make [...]

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Mandelson: EU should ‘carefully reflect’ on its biofuels policy

With growing consensus that US and EU biofuel subsidies are among the principal contributors to recent global food price rises, termed a ‘silent tsunami’ by The Economist, EU Trade Commissioner today signaled that Europe needs to reconsider its target of achieving a 10 per cent biofuels mix in transport fuel by 2020. Speaking on BBC [...]

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World Bank weighs in to ‘food versus fuel’ debate

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned that high food prices are threatening to undo seven years of progress in global poverty reduction. Zoellick has encouraged donor countries to take immediate action to increase funding to the UN World Food Programme and coordinate a ‘New Deal on World Food Policy’. The World Bank has released [...]

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New studies show biofuels increase carbon emissions

Two new studies published in Science magazine add to the mounting evidence that most biofuels are actually increasing carbon emissions, rather than reducing them. The current boom in biofuels in the EU and US is entirely driven by government policies and subsidies, which are invariably presented as a way of addressing climate change by reducing [...]

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Food security: woolly thinking and self defeating solutions

As Jack Thurston has well exposed in his recent entry, the “food security” argument seems to be the new rally call for those trying to justify continuation of untargetted payments to farmers, or even a return to production support (albeit disguised as “risk management”, “income insurance” and the like). At a recent debate I was [...]

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European Parliament takes aim at CAP direct payments

A new report commissioned by the Budget Committee of the European Parliament makes interesting reading. The report, written by Jorge Núñez Ferrer (a former Commission fonctionnaire) and Eleni A. Kaditi, both of the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, aims to asses whether the CAP provides ‘added value’. Núñez Ferrer and Kaditi define this [...]

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Is EU biofuels policy worth the candle?

The Commission will announce next Wednesday (January 23rd) its proposals on how it intends to allocate the burden of cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and of increased use of renewables among Member States. Its draft Directive (so far without the crucial percentage shares) reiterates the mandatory target that biofuels should account for 10 per [...]

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Public supports ‘consumer agenda’ in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring [...]

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Biofuels: a giant con-trick says the OECD

The EU’s headlong rush to convert enormous swathes of farmland into plantations of oilseed rape, corn and other crops grown for use as alternatives to fossil fuels is a giant con-trick, according to a report by the OECD that has been leaked to the Financial Times.

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Agflation goes mainstream

A report on the UK’s Channel 4 News looks at likely increases in the prices of meat in the UK and elsewhere, as a result of increases in world cereals prices. A subject that has been discussed for several months here on CAP Health Check has entered the mainstream. View the report below the fold, [...]

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Biofuels come to rescue of EU sugar market in medium-term

DG Agri published its annual Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU for the period 2007 through 2014 at the end of July. In this post I discuss the Commission’s latest view on the outlook for the EU sugar market. The EU’s sugar market reform agreed in November 2005 has been less than [...]

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Set-aside: ensuring the environmental benefits

Ariel Brunner in a recent post lamented the fact that the EU has proposed to set the rate of compulsory set-aside to 0% for the 2008 harvest without putting in place alternative measures to secure the environmental benefits which set-aside land provides. The reason why the decision only concerns autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings [...]

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European Commission split over biofuels

The European Commission is experiencing a bitter three-way split over biofuels policy, with no real sign of who will prevail. Chief among the biofuels boosters is DG Energy & Transport, which sees a rapid expansion of biofuel production and consumption as a core part of meeting high-level commitments to green energy and reducing dependency on [...]

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Are biofuels to blame for agflation?

The UK’s consumer prices index showed annual food price inflation of 6 per cent in April, the highest level in almost six years and well ahead of overall inflation of 2.8 per cent. In the US, prices have risen by 6.7 per cent, seasonally adjusted, since the beginning of the year, compared to 2.1 per [...]

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Biofuels may push up beer prices

I was giving a presentation on the CAP during this week and I was asked if ending it would threaten food security in Europe. My reply was that no one was advocating dismantling the CAP overnight, so any adjustments would be phased in, but that the real challenge to food security came from the rapid [...]

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Biofuels- a cold look at a hot issue

Biofuels have been all the rage lately among EU decision makers and Council seems bound on setting an ambitious new binding target for their use. As climate change has finally made it to the top of the political agenda biofuels are being hailed as the silver bullet. Everybody seems to agree they are also a [...]

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