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Meeting the mandates set for liquid biofuels for transport in the Philippines

Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) case study

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    Intra-industry trade in biofuels
    How environmental legislation fuels resource use and GHG emissions
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    We have seen significant volumes of intra-industry trade in ethanol between the United States of America and Brazil. A trend which started in 2010 and accelerated in the second half of 2011 with large quantities of ethanol crossing paths in trade between the two countries. While intra-industry trade of homogenous products is not new, it is typically explained by factors such as seasonality or cross-border exchanges caused by transportation cost differentials. None of the traditional market facto rs can explain the volumes of intra-industry trade in ethanol between the US and Brazil. Instead, it appears to be driven by differential environmental policy that aims to capture differences in production methods of the underlying feedstocks and processing methods based on credence attributes of biofuels. Environmental legislation is inducing the product differentiation that invites arbitrage between the two countries resulting in the two-way trade of an otherwise physically homogenous product; in so doing, additional fossil energy is consumed in the mutual exchange of ethanol along with associated GHG emissions and the policy costs to consumers are raised which may suppress demand further reducing the displacement of fossil fuels, both of which are in direct conflict with environmental objectives of many biofuel programmes. With tighter environmental constraints on biofuel production written into EU policy, the potential for competition for classes of renewable fuels increases and could extend its reach from bioethanol to include biodiesel and/or the underlying feedstocks in the EU, the US and Brazil. This would create additional opportunities for arbitrage among the regions as a result of disparate policy differentiation of biofuel products. We submit options to mitigate this through the use of a “book and claim” system under which each country could pursue its own policy objectives while acting in a coordinated fashion to reduce costs and emissions.
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    OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025 Commodity Snapshots: Biofuels 2016
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    Several political changes concerning biofuel markets were finalised in the course of 2015. In Brazil, the taxation system was amended to favour hydrous ethanol rather than gasohol3 and the mandatory anhydrous ethanol blending ratio was increased from 25% to 27%. In the European Union, revisions to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and to the Fuel Quality Directive were adopted. A 7% cap was introduced on renewable energy coming from food and feed crops in the transport sector by 2020. After a long delay, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rulemaking for the years 2014-16 was issued in November 2015. The mandates specified are higher than those proposed earlier in the year, though still considerably lower than the initial levels proposed in 2007.

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    Commodity chapters (not available in full report)
  • Cereals
  • Oilseeds and Oilseed Products
  • Sugar
  • Meat
  • Dairy and Dairy Products
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Biofuels
  • Cotton
  • Statistical Annex
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Bioenergy and Biofuels
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    Bioenergy accounted for roughly ten percent of the world total primary energy supply in 2009. Most of this is consumed in developing countries, where between two and three billion people rely on solid biomass (wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal waste) for cooking and heating, often in open fireplaces or traditional cook stoves. Biomass refers to non-fossil material of biological origin, such as energy crops, agricultural and forestry wastes and by-products, manure or microb ial biomass. Biofuel is fuel produced directly or indirectly from biomass such as fuelwood, charcoal, bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas (methane) or biohydrogen. However, most people associate biofuel with liquid biofuels (bioethanol, biodiesel and straight vegetable oil). In this note the term ”biofuels” refers to liquid biofuels used for transport. Bioenergy is energy derived from biofuels.
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