Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So I herd you liek screwing over Indonesia

Reading the latest edition of World Ethanol & Biofuels report makes me seriously wonder if Europe just wants to shoot itself in the foot. Among many other things, it just reimposed tariffs on imported biodiesel - not just a small one, but 400 Euros per tonne - to punish American manufacturers re-exporting through Canada, which apparently counts as European. There are no words in the English language to describe how stupid this is. The US has spare biodiesel capacity, to the tune of hundreds of millions of gallons per year, but almost no market. Europe has a ridiculous market - and the US already exports regular diesel to them - but somehow it seems fixated on preserving a few, low-skilled jobs, damn the consequences.

Let's get this straight: they allow imported oil with a nominal tariff, and imported American diesel with a nominal tariff, and have no problem with biodiesel, ostensibly because it reduces carbon emissions and stuff. But on the other hand, they let dozens of plants in the US than can produce this green fuel idle, to "preserve" uneconomical jobs in Europe... and spend more carbon to import the caustic soda needed... and don't build any spare capacity... and the net effect on the US biodiesel industry is called "rape." For the poor Indonesian biodiesel industry, which can't export biodiesel to the largest biodiesel market, yet has cheaper soda (from Australia), and is forced to instead export low value-added palm oil instead in exchange for slashing and burning its rainforests, this state of affairs is the same as for the US biodiesel industry, except with the words "no lube" appended.

And above it all European citizens are now complaining that biodiesel is too expensive.


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