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Sustainable Biofuel Production in Tropical and Subtropical Countries

Sustainable Biofuel Production in Tropical and Subtropical Countries

12 June 2008

On 12 June 2008, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament hosted a roundtable on the Sustainable Biofuel Production in Tropical and Subtropical Countries. The event was chaired by MEP Anders Wijkman, Rapporteur for the Renewables Directive in ENVI.


There are very good preconditions for biofuel production in some tropical and subtropical countries. The climate and lots of direct sun-light make biomass production more efficient compared to production in Europe. In some countries the availability of idle or degraded land offers additional opportunities. Ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane is the most well-known example. Increasing production may for some developing countries offer a good opportunity to increase exports and at the same time meet some of the internal energy demands. However, the willingness in investment may be constrained by issues of political stability or uncertainties regarding the demands for imports. Most importantly, questions of how to use the potential for production in a sustainable way need to be raised:

  • What is needed from the policy side to give the right incentives to such development.
  • How may sustainable production of biofuels in developing countries look like?
  • What are relevant criteria for a sustainable production of biofuels?
  • How can a feasible implementation and reporting on these criteria be ensured?
  • What are the consequences of these criteria for the practical work?

The event was organised by Ecologic and IEEP, together with the EP's ENVI Committee Secretariat and the EP's Policy Department A.