The European Union Renewable Energy Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable resources sets a 10% mandatory target for the use of renewable energy in transport and has been causing a significant increase in biofuels production for the EU market. Shared Challenges brought together academics and policy experts from across CCI and beyond in February 2009 to review the biodiversity impacts of EU consumption of biofuels and to identify opportunities, weaknesses and threats for biodiversity conservation.
The group recognised that the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels are a significant step forward in ensuring a sustainable biofuels policy. However, they found that these criteria fall short of mitigating the risks that further biofuels expansion will lead to increased biodiversity loss.
The main conclusions from the workshop were turned into a key message document for decision makers for implementation of the EU Renewable Energy Directive legislation and further development to improve environmental safeguards; and a statement on the potential to secure biodiversity and carbon benefits through trade agreements. These were used as advocacy material to highlight the potential pitfalls of this legislation on biodiversity.
In January 2012 a follow-up workshop brought together people from across CCI, JNCC and WWF to share perspectives on ‘no go areas’ for biofuels, discuss ‘no go’ provisions in the EU Renewable Energy Directive and to start planning collaborative input to the review of the legislation in 2014. As a result, two pieces of collaborative research have been developed, to review evidence on the impact of EU biofuels policy and help formulate recommendations for the RED review.