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Impacts of the EU Biofuel Target on Agricultural Markets and Land Use - A Comparative Modelling Assessment

The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) requires that 20% of the EU's energy needs should come from renewable sources by 2020, and includes a target for the transport sector of 10% from biofuels. This report analyses and discusses the global impacts of this biofuel target on agricultural production, markets and land use, as simulated by three agricultural sector models, AGLINK-COSIMO, ESIM and CAPRI. The impacts identified include higher EU production of ethanol and biodiesel, and of the crops used to produce them, as well as more imports of both biofuels. Trade flows of biofuel feedstocks also change to reflect greater EU demand, including a significant increase in vegetable oil imports. However, as the extra demand is small in world market terms, the impact on world market prices is limited. With the EU biofuel target, global use of land for crop cultivation is higher by 5.2 million hectares. About one quarter is area within the EU, some of which would otherwise have left agriculture.