How to deal with indirect land-use change in the EU Renewable Energy Directive?

Biofuels based on agricultural crops have the risk of causing indirect land use change with substantial greenhouse gas emissions. European policy to stimulate innovative solutions without these effects can be strengthened. These are the two main observations of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in reaction on the consultation of the European Commission on this subject.

Biofuels with indirect effects or alternatives

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to indirect land-use change (ILUC) for biofuels can be substantial, but there is and will be great uncertainty about the exact impact. The risk of an increase in greenhouse gas emissions is low if policymakers were to choose a high emission factor in the greenhouse gas balance, but this choice also would mean that no agricultural land could be used for growing biofuels. Even a relatively low emission factor could provide a barrier for many of the biofuels to enter the market. Most biofuels with ILUC effects do not fit into a long-term perspective with an 80 to 95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Other technical options, without ILUC effects, such as advanced biofuels and zero-emission vehicles, do. Especially for the last category the incentives in European policy can be strengthened. This brief report was the reaction of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency on the EU’s Public consultation on indirect land use change and biofuels.

Only available in digital format.


Ros J.P.M., Overmars K.P., Notenboom J.G.M.


Publication title
How to deal with indirect land-use change in the EU Renewable Energy Directive?
Publication date
8 November 2010
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