Further delay as Commissioners fail to agree biofuels clean-up plan

Press release - May 2, 2012
Brussels - European Commissioners today failed to agree how to close a major loophole in EU biofuels policy. The lack of progress adds to years of delay while the climate impact of harmful biofuels continues to grow, Greenpeace said.

23 April 2012

EU biofuels policies are indirectly causing habitat destruction and unforeseen carbon emissions.

Sustainability rules for biofuels currently ignore greenhouse gas emissions from the indirect destruction of forests, peatlands and other habitats linked to fuel production from crops - the indirect land use change (ILUC) effect [1].

In a debate this morning, the EU’s 27 commissioners were unable to agree a common approach on how to account for ILUC.

Greenpeace EU forests policy director Sebastien Risso said: “Despite an unstoppable tide of scientific evidence proving just how polluting some biofuels are, the Commission still can’t bring itself to grab the bull by the horns and take decisive action. The Commission must resolve its internal disagreements and put forward a robust plan on biofuels before the summer recess.”

A Commission ILUC impact assessment found that habitats more than half the size of Belgium are set to be destroyed to meet EU demand for biofuels by 2020, increasing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than the total annual emissions of Italy or France [2].


[1] Food crops are now being used to meet the EU’s growing demand for biofuels, with the result that new farmlands are needed, destroying vital ecosystems and carbon stores such as forests, savannahs and peat lands globally. This releases millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases, accelerating climate change and undermining the climate benefits Europe’s biofuels policy are meant to deliver.
[2] Assessing the Land Use Change Consequences of European Biofuel Policies http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2011/october/tradoc_148289.pdf

Greenpeace EU forests policy adviser Sebastien Risso: +32 (0) 496 127 009 reenpeace media officer Jack Hunter: +32 (0)476 988 584

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.