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Switzerland: Sustainability Criteria for Biofuels

(Mar. 2, 2008) On January 30, 2008, Switzerland promulgated the Act Amending the Mineral Oil Tax Act (Mineralölsteuergesetz, Änderung, AMTLICHE SAMMLUNG (AS) 579) and the Act Amending the Mineral Oil Tax Regulation (Mineralölsteuerverordnung, Änderung, AS 583). (Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation official Web site http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/as/2008/index0_9.html (last visited Feb. 28, 2008).) These enactments have an effective date of July 1, 2008, and introduce tax benefits or exemptions for the use of biofuels, but they make the extent of the benefit dependent on the environmental superiority of the employed biomass: to qualify for tax benefits, biofuels must reflect a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared with the corresponding fossil fuels. In addition, biomasses from plants are disqualified if the plants were grown on areas that were deforested or that should have been preserved in their natural state in order to encourage biodiversity.