Last week we finished off a jam-packed week of campaigning on biofuels when we met the Minister responsible for biofuels in the British Government, Norman Baker, to demand the UK supports the call for Food Not Fuel.
ActionAid campaign supporters and Activistas Julieta Acosta, Christopher Chan and Katrina Gajewska, joined ActionAid head of campaigns, Jenny Ricks, to call on Norman Baker, Minister at the Department for Transport, to listen to the 30,000 ActionAid supporters who have supported the call for Food Not Fuel and ensure the UK supports a 5% cap on food and land based biofuels in Europe.
Following the vote on the reform of European biofuel policy by MEPs, negotiations now pass to European member states where ActionAid is calling on the UK to lead in ensuring a deal which ends the madness of a policy which is fuelling hunger, land grabs and climate change.
UK government supports 5% cap
Norman Baker said at the meeting that the UK wanted as low a cap as possible and was calling for at least a 5% cap n food based biofuels in negotiations with other European member states. He also emphasised that ruling out the worst biofuels in terms of climate change (through measuring the emissions from indirect land-use change, known as ‘binding ILUC factors’) must be part of any future deal.
He said he was committed to working with like-minded MEPs to try and get a strong deal before Parliament dissolves for European Parliamentary elections next year.
Mr Baker also highlighted the challenge of ensuring other European countries support a strong deal and the importance of keeping up the pressure on politicians across Europe. Last week ActionAid campaigners and volunteers from Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and France, as well as the UK were in Brussels to lobby their MEPs. And earlier this week ActionAid was part of the cross European petition hand in of the demands of almost 250,000 people calling for an end to bad biofuels, ahead of the Parliamentary vote.
Whilst the statement from Norman Baker is very welcome, we are still calling for the UK to do more to lead in negotiations in Europe, and to strenghen their position to also include biofuels grown on land that could have been used to grow food.
Given a last minute ammendment in the MEP vote last week, the process for finally agreeing a European position on reforming biofuels is likely to have been delayed, but we'll continue to push the UK and MEPs to ensure the proposal is as strong as possible, and work with other ActionAid offices to keep up the pressure across Europe.