Biofuels regime failing to meet its objectives under current regulatory framework

May 26, 2015, University of Eastern Finland

The European Union (EU) regulatory framework for biofuels has the potential to address its climate, energy and environmental objectives, but only if carefully tailored and effectively implemented, according to research from the University of Eastern Finland. The current regulatory framework for biofuels is failing to meet these underlying objectives.

Biofuels are part of the EU climate and energy package

Biofuels fall under the regulatory framework created by the Renewable Energy Directive introduced as part of the EU's Climate and Energy Package, and biofuels are vital both to the EU's battle against and in boosting its . The Directive sets a mandatory target for in transportation (consisting mainly of biofuels) use to constitute 10% of energy use within the EU by 2020. However, the EU is currently setting new targets to extend beyond 2020 as well as revising the Renewable Energy Directive. Debating the relevant issues while taking the challenges of the regulatory framework into consideration is therefore of crucial importance to avoid replicating the flaws of the current system in the future EU and energy package.

The doctoral dissertation of Seita Romppanen, MSc (Admin.), applies a new governance approach to the examination of the regulatory framework. According to the study, the EU biofuels regime is a good example of a mode of new governance suitable for governing complex regulatory challenges such as sustainable biofuels, but its regulatory architecture and the particular mechanisms of new governance it deploys endanger the achievement of the underlying climate and environmental objectives and the legitimacy of the EU biofuels regime.

Sustainable biofuels governance calls for coherent and comprehensive regulation

According to the study, it is important to put in place binding targets in respect of the introduction of biofuels as part of our future systems, as well as substantive rules setting the parameters to ensure this mandatory introduction of biofuels is achieved in a sustainable manner. However, it is equally crucial to have in place a credible regulatory framework capable of guaranteeing that the system established to govern these targets and rules on sustainable biofuels performs effectively and legitimately. New governance is an approach that allows all relevant actors, processes and instruments fundamental to the governance of sustainable biofuels to be evaluated together. Based on the comprehensive evaluation of the current EU biofuels, the study suggests ways towards how the flaws undermining the sustainable achievement of the climate and environmental objectives should be corrected. Furthermore, in order to improve the for EU biofuels to meet its objectives more effectively and legitimately, steps should be taken to realise the potential already inherent in the governance mechanisms (such as options to better facilitate the public-private cooperation in EU biofuels governance).

The findings were originally published in European Energy and Environmental Law Review, Journal of Renewable Energy Law and Policy, Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, Ympäristöjuridiikka (Finnish Environmental Law Review) and Climate Law.

Explore further: EU to trim biofuel targets on greenhouse gas fears

More information: The doctoral dissertation, titled "New Governance in Context, Evaluating the EU Biofuels Regime," is available for download at … bn_978-952-61-1763-8

Related Stories

EU to trim biofuel targets on greenhouse gas fears

September 11, 2012

The European Union plans to trim targets on biofuel use, once seen as a potential source of cheap alternative energy but now widely blamed for soaring food prices, according to a draft proposal.

EU cuts use of food-based biofuels

October 17, 2012

The European Commission said Wednesday that it was cutting targets for the use of biofuels so as to reduce the negative impact on food production and prices.

EU, US should abandon biofuels: UN rapporteur

October 17, 2012

The European Union and the United States should stop using biofuels as they are hampering food production, the UN's special rapporteur for the right to food Olivier De Schutter told AFP on Wednesday.

Biofuel policy needs rethink, says UN expert

November 25, 2011

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food urged the EU for a rethink on biofuels Friday, saying huge errors had been committed in the initial enthusiasm for an alternative to harmful fossil fuels.

Recommended for you

What happened before the Big Bang?

March 26, 2019

A team of scientists has proposed a powerful new test for inflation, the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Their goal is to give insight into ...

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...

Race at the edge of the sun: Ions are faster than atoms

March 26, 2019

Scientists at the University of Göttingen, the Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris and the Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno have observed that ions move faster than atoms in the gas streams of a solar prominence. The results ...

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.