Shifting to deforestation-free biofuels

Advocacy campaigns towards policy-makers in EU, US and United Nation bodies to stop promoting the use of unsustainable biofuels.

Organization

Transport and Environment


Why: Current biofuels policy drive deforestation and land-grabbing problems

Since 2000, the global consumption of biofuels has dramatically increased due to climate policies adopted for example in Europe and the US.

These regulations promote the use of biofuels in the transport sector with the “noble” objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, these mandates do not take into account certain consideration such as land use, GHG savings or food security.

The most energetic, cheapest (and easiest to get) biofuels are those which are produced with food crops, such as rapeseed, palm oil, soy, etc.

The implementation of the biofuel volume mandates creates an artificial competing use for these crops which would normally be used for food production, creating Indirect Land Use Changes (‘ILUC’ effects).

Derived from a massive demand of these crops to satisfy both the biofuels and the food markets, more land is used contributing to deforestation - thus more GHG emission - and social problems involving land-grabbing, local communities’ rights, etc.

Budget

Norad intends to offer NOK 40 million in total for the period 2016-2020.

What: Advocacy campaigns towards policy-makers in EU, US and United Nation bodies to stop promoting the use of unsustainable biofuels.

Following a previous grant in 2013-2015, Transport & Environment’s (T&E) work will continue focusing on policy makers in the EU and the US, advocating for the phase-out of deforestation-based biofuels.

Besides their advocacy work in EU and US, efforts will be addressed towards the aviation industry and its governing bodies and policies (United Nations agency for civil aviation). This will be complemented with support to local campaign organizations in Indonesia, to give them the tools to advocate in their national and regional governments.

The continuation of this work is essential because, despite the achievements so far, current policy and practices are still driving deforestation in South-East Asia and even affecting new frontiers, such as Colombia, Peru or Central Africa.

Geographic location & Expected results

The lack of consideration for sustainability considerations in the policies that promote biofuels’ use has global causes and consequences and therefore needs to be tackled from different angles.

Due to that, this project has been designed in a way that will approach four key game-changers:

  • The EU institutions and national EU governments will no longer support the use of deforestation-based biofuels in the 2030 climate and energy policy package. This could deliver up to 70 million tonnes/year of CO2e emissions reductions by 2030.

  • The US federal and state-level governments will not promote new biofuel pathways linked to deforestation. This could deliver up to 70 million tonnes/year of CO2 emissions reductions by 2030.

  • The aviation industry and the international bodies regulating them (ie. The International Civil Aviation Organisation – ICAO) will set minimum sustainability thresholds, which will prevent the uptake of deforestation-based biofuels in the sector. This could deliver up to 25 million tonnes/year of CO2e emissions reductions by 2030.

  • The Indonesian government integrates sustainability criteria in its biofuel mandate, introduced by the ‘no-deforestation’ policies of the main palm oil traders. This could deliver up to 25 million tonnes/year of CO2e emissions reductions by 2030.

Taken together, these actions could reduce a total of GHG emissions linked to deforestation of 200 MT CO2e per year.

Partners
The International Council on Clean Transportation – ICCT and Waxman Strategies.

About the project descriptions

The project descriptions give insight in the NICFI portfolio for civil society organisations supported by Norad. 

The descriptions presented are written by the project partners. Only minor edits have been undertaken by Norad. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad.

Published 09.06.2016
Last updated 13.06.2016