Brussels – In the face of heavy lobbying from the biofuels industry, the European Parliament’s environment committee has made encouraging recommendations to fix EU biofuels policy, but more will be required to end the food for fuel crisis, warned Greenpeace.
The committee voted on a proposal by the Commission to curb the use of damaging biofuels which compete with and often displace food production, which often leads to the destruction of pristine forests and the release of carbon emissions - a phenomenon known as indirect land-use change (ILUC).
MEPs have backed a cap on biofuels of 5.5 per cent of the European fuel mix, a level that is above current consumption levels. The committee also wants all carbon emissions generated from the production of biofuels to be accounted for, including emissions resulting from ILUC. It also proposes to introduce criteria that would require sustainable land-use management practices and soil protection. This means that biofuels that are damaging to the environment and do not benefit the climate could no longer be labelled as green.
Greenpeace EU biofuels policy director Sebastien Risso said: “MEPs have made great strides to safeguard against the environmental impacts of biofuels, but they have missed an opportunity to reduce the consumption of biofuels that compete with food. When MEPs come together for a final vote in the autumn, they should take a look at the evidence and turn away from harmful biofuels.”
The committee proposed higher incentives to increase the use of renewable electricity in transport and a specific EU target for energy savings. MEPs also proposed higher incentives for advanced biofuels, produced from waste or residues, and called for safeguards to prevent negative environmental impacts that could, for example, arise from the use of forestry and agriculture residues.
The European Parliament is expected to vote on biofuels policy in a plenary session in September.
Sebastien Risso - Greenpeace EU forests policy director: +32 (0)496 127 009,
Ed Davitt – Greenpeace EU media officer: +32 (0)476 988 584,