UFOP demands consideration of Finkbeiner study in EU parliament

By UFOP | May 23, 2013

The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants e.V. (UFOP) greatly welcomes the study results presented this week by Prof. Matthias Finkbeiner, Technical University Berlin, concerning the scientific resilience of indirect land use effects—ILUC factors—in eco balances. The study ordered by OVID and VDB, which was previously subjected to a scientifically neutral review, comes to the conclusion that the calculations for the introduction of specific greenhouse gas values for raw materials used as a foundation for current biofuels is not supported by facts and, thus, cannot serve as a foundation for European legislation.

As the first eco balance expert, Finkbeiner scientifically examined the so-called indirect land use changes (ILUC) introduced by the European Commission against biofuels. The UFOP had expected that after the consistent criticism of the International Food Policy Research Institute study ordered by the EC and the therein contained ILUC factors, it would be the responsibility of the member states to conduct a review or to contract someone to do so.

With this study, Finkbeiner initiated the urgently necessary serious scientific discussion, especially, following the expectations of the UFOP, since the introduction of ILUC factors will not remain limited to biofuels. After all, only approximately 3 to 4 percent of the palm oil production is used for biofuels, but more than 21 percent for material utilization in oleochemistry for lubricants, cosmetics, etc.

Thus, for UFOP, this study embodies the hope that these results will receive adequate consideration in the responsible committees of the European Parliament in the discussion concerning the suggestions for modification of EU biofuel politics.

The study is a great opposition to the interpretation of Corinne Lepage, responsible reporter for the leading environmental committee, who sees the IFPRI study as a sufficiently scientifically founded basis for the introduction of ILUC factors. The

UFOP greatly welcomes the fact that the federal government is unanimous in the denial of ILUC factors. How is development of bioenergy or a bioeconomy supposed to be possible if the profitability of investments is consistently threatened by the introduction or by an adaptation of ILUC factors demanded depending on the market situation? This would also affect biomass for the production of so-called advanced biofuels, for example from field straw. Because with the introduction of the quadruple calculation suggested by the EC, the straw percentage would essentially determine the pricing of grain in the future.

Analogous to the current situation regarding waste for double calculation, UFOP fears this would create completely new global biomass flows.

The UFOP criticizes that the double calculation of biofuels from waste oils is already causing significant displacement effect. This is allegedly visible by the fact that rapeseed oil in biofuel production in Germany corresponded to a cultivation area of only 630,000 hectares in 2012. In the previous year, the required cultivation area amounted to approximately 1 million hectares according to the Federal Institute for Agriculture, stated UFOP.

With this in mind, the UFOP asks the European parliament to deny the suggestions of the EC and, in particular, the introduction of ILUC factors, as well as the 5 percent limitation from grown biomass. The association remembers that essentially, the three countries Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil are responsible for deforestation and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. The introduction of ILUC factors does not save a square meter of jungle; on the contrary, these countries will then search and find other customers.

The UFOP advocates recording all deforestation areas in these countries according to the causer principle, and to add the associated greenhouse gas emissions onto the respective plant oil and biofuel production. If you want to participate in the areas eligible for assistance by the EU, you must accept this regulation. The UFOP emphasizes that there are already successful examples available for the specification of correspondingly restrictive market access conditions.

Bilateral negotiation is the only and fastest way to stop deforestation, in particular for the generation of palm oil. European rapeseed producers may not be subjected to co-liability for European environmental politics, which, apparently, failed and remained without success, stated the UFOP in affirmation of its standpoint.


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