Top menu

The implications of the EU Renewable Energy Directive for biodiversity

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.

Project Aims

This project originally aimed to provide CCI input into EU legislation related to the Renewable Energy Directive in 2010. In 2012, a follow-on project aimed to review the Renerable Energy Directive and to share perspectives on ‘no-go areas’ for biofuels.

Key Activities

  1. A workshop (27th February 2009) reviewed the biodiversity impacts of EU consumption of biofuels and to identify opportunities, weaknesses and threats for biodiversity conservation.
  2. A second workshop (24th January 2012) discussed no-go areas and the potential impacts of the EU Renewable Energy Directive on biodiversity.

Conservation Impact

The outputs from the workshop in 2009 were sent to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the UK Department of Transport. The report was used as advocacy material to highlight the potential pitfalls of this legislation on biodiversity. It also helped to shape the direction of the advice that IUCN gave the European Commission on the implementation of protected area and renewable grassland criteria.

In follow up to the workshop in 2012, proposals for two pieces of collaborative research have been developed, to review evidence on the impact of EU biofuels policy and help formulate recommendations for the review of the Renewable Energy Directive in 2014.

Outputs

Outputs from the workshop in 2009 included:

  1. Key messages for decision makers for implementation of the EU Renewable Energy Directive legislation and further development to improve environmental safeguards
  2. A statement on the potential to secure biodiversity and carbon benefits through trade agreements

 

CCI partners Involved

BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, delivering global and regional programmes of conservation and community projects.
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...

Other Organisations Involved

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Key messages: Biodiversity conservation and the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels Key messages: Biodiversity conservation and the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels This summary is the output from a Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) convened workshop, on 27th February 2009, on the impacts on biodiversity conservation of the EU sustainability criteria for... Policy briefs
A statement on the potential to secure biodiversity and carbon benefits through trade agreements Policy brief: A statement on the potential to secure biodiversity and carbon benefits through trade agreements This statement is the output from a workshop convened by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), on 27th February 2009, on the impacts on biodiversity conservation of the EU sustainability... Policy briefs