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EU still far from agreeing biofuel standards: diplomats

interfere with free market processes that are critical to making bio fuels an effective alternative liquid fuel source.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) May 7, 2008
The European Union remains far from agreeing on how to tighten its rules for using biofuels, diplomats said Wednesday amid growing opposition towards such forms of energy.

The EU committed last year to ramp up its use of biofuels in the coming years but has since had to consider ways to ensure their use does not have unintended consequences such as environmental damage and higher food prices.

In a first discussion at the ambassador level, EU states were only "close to a consensus" on one point, an official with the bloc's Slovenian presidency said.

The bloc's leaders committed to increase the EU's renewable energy use by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, with biofuels slated to make up 10 percent of all transport fuels used by then.

The single point of emerging consensus was that biofuels should make greenhouse gas savings of 35 percent compared to oil from the expected entry into force of the regulations in 2009.

However, member state opinions diverged on when the percentage should be increased, another EU diplomat said.

Discussions are also underway about how to calculate the effectiveness of different biofuels, which is essential to determining whether they pass the 35 percent test.

Considered only months ago as a key tool for fighting climate change, the tide has rapidly shifted against biofuels, largely because the use of farmland to make them has been blamed of driving up soaring food prices.

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Analysis: Bio-based products cut emissions
Chicago (UPI) May 2, 2008
Bio-based materials have been in the limelight lately because of their potential as low-emissions fuels, but their ability to cut CO2 emissions extends beyond the transportation sector, experts say.

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