EU must stop dithering on biofuels reform
Commenting today (Thursday 12 December 2013) on EU energy ministers’ vote against biofuel reforms proposed by the Lithuanian presidency, Friends of the Earth Biofuels Campaigner Kenneth Richter said: “Proposals by the Lithuanian presidency to limit the use of transport fuels made from crops were woefully inadequate – they would have done little to stop the negative environmental and social impacts of Europe’s biofuel demand.
“The EU must stop dithering on this crucial issue. The next EU presidency must take meaningful action to stop biofuels driving up global food prices and causing greater climate-changing emissions than fossil fuels.”
Notes to Editor:
1. The reform of EU biofuel law is a long standing and controversial issue. Scientists as well as environmental and development NGOs have demanded the introduction of penalty factors for biofuels such as palm oil that lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels through deforestation, so-called “indirect land use change (ILUC) factors”. They also want a phase out of the use of agricultural crops for biofuels as the competition with food production over land and water is driving up food prices and encourages land grabs globally.
2. The EU Commission had proposed a cap that would have meant that only 5% out of the overall 10% target for “renewable energy in transport” could come from crop-based biofuels. Alternative ways to meet the target are through the use of renewable electricity in trains and cars and the use of biofuels from waste streams.
3. In September the EU Parliament weakened the proposal by voting for a 6% cap and ILUC factors only from 2020.
4. The presidency of the EU Council of Ministers (currently held by Lithuania) further watered down the proposal to a 7% cap and no ILUC factors. This proposal was today rejected by a blocking minority of countries.
5. It is now up to the next presidency of the EU Council (which will be held by Greece) to find agreement among member states for a new proposal.
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