Ethanol : EU towards an agreement...

2 September 2008 : The European Union wishes to come to an arrangement concerning ethanol this week.

The stakes are important for the global development of ethanol. This issue is in the hands of the French presidency of Europe as it is expected to decide this week of an agreement on the sustainability of ethanol.

On 23rd January 2008, MEPs had argued the need to achieve more important sustainability criteria for these new fuels. Despite this outline response from MEP’s, civil society committed against ethanol has not lowered. It has continued to demand the revision of targets set under the directive of the European Parliament on promoting the use of renewables.

In our view, the objective of 10% of incorporation of ethanol in fossil fuels by 2020 should not be diminished. The ethanol represents an accessible alternative to oil that we have to cope with the increase in world energy demand in the transportation field. The development of these technologies is important; the potential is great and their evolution so fast!

This week, the issue is not only to know of what the fuel of Europeans will be composed over the next decade, but also to seize the opportunity to emphasize the importance of an environmental governance on global scale. The consequences of this agreement, whatever they are, will be key for the populations of many ethanol producers’ countries, and particularly those in the South where they represent an important development track.

The real challenge is to leverage the innovative industry of ethanol. This involves maintaining the preset targets and stimulation for changes in industrial processes through the adoption of ambitious environmental and social criteria. It is also to highlight the responsibilities of the private sector towards which all eyes must turn in order to apply a real consumer pressure on it. The imposition of standards on product represents an effective way to change consumption’s habits while educating the user. By the way, the EU provides, ultimately, a certification of these fuels. Would it not be possible, for example, to apply a certification which could evolue depending on advancement of technologies?

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