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24, Jun, 2008

Biofuels Bill report back much improved


Category: ECO Inc

The Environment and Conservation Organisations today welcomed the report back of the much improved Biofuels Bill.

ECO spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said the Select Committee had responded positively to a range of submitters’ concerns, including ECO, and had added much stronger sustainability criteria to the Bill.

“The Bill now requires the Biofuels to meet three tests which included requiring that biofuels ‘does not reduce indigenous biodiversity or adversely affect land with high conservation value’ (clause 9, new section 34GA).”

Mr Weeber said the requirements included that the biofuel had a carbon footprint that at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than current fuels. The third condition is that biofuels do not compete with food production.

“ECO was particularly concerned that the Bill as originally drafted did not contain protections against the use of biofuels that cause the loss of tropical forests or add to the threats to a range of endangered species.”

Mr Weeber said the changes in the obligation requirement in the Bill will give the Government time to introduce the necessary implementing sustainability regulations by June next year.

“Now, we need the government to include similar protections in New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme,” he said.

For further information contact: Barry Weeber 04-389-1696 or 021-738-807.

Notes:

  1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 62 groups with a concern for the environment.
  2. New section 34GA contains conditions providing for biofuels which qualify as being sustainable. This includes the three principles of sustainable biofuels
“(3) The principles of sustainable biofuels are as follows:
“Principle 1: Less greenhouse gas
“Sustainable biofuels emit significantly less greenhouse gas over their life cycle than obligation engine fuel. In relation to this principle, the Order in Council must—
“(a) specify a methodology for life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from obligation engine fuels; and
“(b) specify minimum levels of no less than 35% greenhouse gas emission reductions for qualifying biofuels in comparison to obligation engine fuel.
Principle 2: Food production
“ Sustainable biofuels do not compete with food production and are not grown on land of high value for food production. Without limitation, the following biofuels do not contravene this principle:
“(a) byproducts of food production described in the Order in Council:
“(b) ethanol from sugarcane grown in circumstances and in areas described in the Order in Council:
“(c) rotational oilseed crops grown not more than 12 months in any 24 month period on the same land or as otherwise specified in the Order in Council. “ In relation to this principle, the Order in Council must—
“(a) specify a methodology for assessing the effects of the production of a biofuel on food production and for assessing whether those effects amount to competition; and
“(b) specify a mechanism for recognising particular land (including land outside New Zealand) as being land of high value for food production.
Principle 3: Biodiversity and land with high conservation value
“ The production of sustainable biofuels does not reduce indigenous biodiversity or adversely affect land with high conservation value. In relation to this principle, the Order in Council must—
“(a) specify a mechanism for recognising particular land (including land outside New Zealand) as having high conservation value; and
“(b) specify a methodology for assessing the effects of the production of a biofuel on indigenous biodiversity and land of high conservation value.”

ECOs Annual Conference is held in Wellington on 27 to 29 June and energy and climate change are amongst the issues to be discussed.