Report of the Biofuel Sustainability Study Group- Toward Establishing the Japanese version of biofuel sustainability standards
It is essential in introducing biofuel that the government promote its use while solving challenges associated with it, such as competition with food, disruption of the ecosystem, cost efficiency and supply stability. In recognition of this, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) organized the Biofuel Sustainability Study Group, with the participation of the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of the Environment. The Study Group conducted studies and discussions in view of the formulation of the Japanese version of biofuel sustainability standards, and summarized challenges that need to be solved.
1. Japan is promoting the introduction of biofuel from the viewpoint of combating global warming and lowering oil dependence in the transport sector. Since the development and use of biofuel may cause various problems, including competition with food and environmental threats (e.g., deforestation), ensuring the sustainable development and use of biofuel while preventing such potential repercussions is crucial.
2. In December 2008, the EU adopted the “Directive on Renewable Energy” to set standards for biofuel with regard to greenhouse gas emission reductions and environmental impacts. The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), which was given a mandate by the G8 Summit, is developing international sustainability standards for biofuel with the involvement of Japan and many other countries. In light of these moves, METI organized the Biofuel Sustainability Study Group (Chairman: Shinya Yokoyama, professor at the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo) together with the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of the Environment, and held discussions.
3. The Study Group discussed how to address biofuel-related issues, such as the effect in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, changes in land use due to biomass cultivation, competition with food, and supply stability, and summarized challenges that should be solved before establishing the Japanese version of biofuel sustainability standards.
April 14, 2009
Division in Charge
Fuel Policy Planning Office, Natural Resources and Fuel Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
New and Renewable Energy Division, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy