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EU Environmental Sustainability Requirements and Brazilian Biofuel Exports


  • Steven Zahniser


This article explores the EU's goal to obtain 10 per cent of its transport energy from biofuels by 2020 and considers how the environmental sustainability criteria in the EU's new renewable energy directive might apply to Brazil. In order to count towards the goal, biofuels must achieve greenhouse gas savings as high as 60 per cent after 2017. Regarding Brazil's leading biofuels, the directive assigns a default savings level of 71 per cent to sugarcane-based bioethanol and 31 per cent to soybean-based biodiesel. Biofuels obtained from biomass grown on lands of high carbon stock or high biodiversity value would not qualify as sustainable under the directive, based on the land's status in January 2008. However, the directive leaves open the possibility of converting some savannahs and open forests to biomass production. Amendments reported by the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) but not incorporated within the directive would have called on second-generation biofuels and vehicles powered by renewable sources of electricity or hydrogen to supply at least 40 per cent of the 10 per cent goal, and they would have treated all of Brazil's savannahs and many of its open forests as unsustainable places for biomass production. Copyright No claim to original US government works. Journal compilation (c) The Agricultural Ecomomics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Zahniser, 2010. "EU Environmental Sustainability Requirements and Brazilian Biofuel Exports," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 9(2), pages 28-34, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:eurcho:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:28-34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Finger, Robert, 2010. "Evidence of slowing yield growth - The example of Swiss cereal yields," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 175-182, April.
    2. Erwin Schmid & Franz Sinabell, 2004. "On the Choice of Farm Management Practices after the Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy in 2003," WIFO Working Papers 233, WIFO.
    3. Stefan Mann, 2005. "Different Perspectives on Cross-Compliance," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 14(4), pages 471-482, November.
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