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EU energy ministers endorse new biofuels target of 10% for 2020

European Union governments endorsed a stricter target for biofuels in a bid to cut pollution from vehicles and dependence on imported oil.

EU energy ministers approved a binding minimum target for the share of biofuels in gasoline and diesel of 10% by 2020. The bloc's current goal for biofuels, a renewable energy that can be made from crops including sugar beet, is 5.75% by 2010. „Renewable energies, when used in a cost-efficient way, contribute simultaneously to security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability,” the ministers from the 27-nation EU said in a statement released today in Brussels, where they met. The 10% biofuels target could result from varying, yet-to-be-decided levels for individual member states. The EU is seeking to reduce consumption of hydrocarbons to fight global warming and ease reliance on imports, which account for half the bloc's energy.

The EU's energy-import dependency is due to rise to 65% by 2030. Last month, the European Commission recommended a 10% biofuels target for 2020 as part of goal to promote renewable energies generally. The commission, the EU's regulatory arm, urged a binding target for renewable energies as a whole including solar and wind power of 20% in 2020, up from a current goal of 12% in 2010. The energy ministers failed agree on a binding 2020 target for renewable energies generally after some member states expressed concerns. EU heads of government and state will debate the matter at a March 8-9 summit. The commission aims to produce draft legislation on new targets for renewable energies including biofuels after more discussions by national governments. To complement the recommended biofuels target of 10% by 2020, the commission two weeks ago proposed creating a separate gasoline blend with a higher permissible oxygenate content including up to 10% ethanol as of 2009 compared with 5% at present. (Bloomberg)