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MEPs miss opportunity on biofuels vote

news release

Reacting to the European Parliament’s plenary vote on biofuels today (Wednesday 11 September 2013), Friends of the Earth Biofuels Campaigner Kenneth Richter said: “MEPs have missed a historic opportunity fix a biofuel policy that has led to soaring food prices, deforestation and an increase in climate-changing emissions.

“Instead the European Parliament has opted for a desperately weak compromise that will fail to curb the grave social and environmental impacts caused by the EU’s biofuel target.

“The UK Government must keep its promise and push for proper reform of EU biofuel rules.”

ENDS

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Notes to editors

1. The vote today (Wednesday 11 September 2013) failed to give the rapporteur the mandate to negotiate the report with the European Council so there will now be second reading of EU Biofuel policy in the coming months.

2. Friends of the Earth will call on the UK Government to keep its promise of pushing for meaningful reform of the EU biofuel legislation.

3. MEPs have agreed to a six per cent cap on the amount of food which can be used for biofuel production, this is worse than the previous proposed amount of five per cent.

4. They have also failed to introduce Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) accounting for the emissions caused by indirect land use change.

5. ILUC: As farmers worldwide respond to higher crop prices in order to maintain the global food supply-and-demand balance, pristine lands are cleared to replace the food crops that were diverted elsewhere for biofuels production. Because natural lands, such as forests and grasslands, store carbon in their soil and biomass as plants grow each year, clearance of wilderness for new farms translates to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Due to this change in the carbon stock of the soil and the biomass, indirect land use change has serious consequences in the GHG balance of a biofuel. According the European Commission’s own research biofuels from crops like soy and rape seed can result in higher GHG emissions than the fossil fuels they are meant to replace.

6. Biofuels from crops like palm oil will be allowed to continue to receive support under the Renewable Energy Directive, despite evidence that they have led to an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.

7. A Joint NGO briefing on recommendations to EU on biofuels is here.

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