The EU Commission has announced new voluntary rules on biofuels saying it will raise standards in the sector.
Despite concerns over the environmental impact of certain biofuels Brussels says the scheme will help bring down carbon emissions.
Biofuel made from crops grown on land that used to be rainforest or natural grassland will no longer be considered sustainable.
In addition, the Commission says that the carbon emissions created over the whole production chain will also need to be at least 35 percent lower than those of fossil fuels if they are to get a certificate.
The EU’s Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: ‘‘Plants are currently the basis for most biofuel production. That is why we have to make sure that neither rainforests nor any other fragile ecosystems are harmed in the process.”
But some NGO’s are not convinced. They cite increasing scientific evidence that claims certain crops used in bio-fuel production do more environmental harm than good.
Nusa Urbancic from NGO Transport & Environment said: “The Commission should have presented the proposal in ‘Indirect Land Use Change’ at the end of July but they have missed the deadline despite the fact that their own studies show that some types of biofuels are worse for the climate than fossil fuels.’‘
Despite such concerns, the EU is expected to protect its current investment of almost 10 billion euros in the biodiesel sector, even if bioethanol and more advanced biofuels are now widely seen as preferable.