Europe’s biofuel targets are wreaking havoc on the poorest communities in the developing world. Farmers in poor countries are getting pushed off their land to make way for biofuels and as food gets used as fuel to power our cars, food prices go up, increasing global hunger.
This is a clearly a development issue, but so far Europe has tended to see the biofuels debate as purely about climate change. We’ve worked hard throughout this year to get Europe to face up to the destructive impacts of its policy on people lives and specifically called on Development Minsters, who met on Monday, to take action to address the issue.
We’ve been lobbying hard behind the scenes and ActionAid supporters have sent over 5,000 messages to Andrew Mitchel, UK Development Secretary, calling on him to act.
So we were really happy to hear that the issue was addressed when the ministers met in Brussels on Monday with the Belgian development minister calling for concerns about the social impacts of biofuels to be taken into account when the European Commission reports at the end of the year.
The fact that the impact of biofuels on development is being taken seriously in Europe is a real step forwards, moving the debate out of environmental terms and into looking at the impact on real people’s lives. This gives us a solid basis to keep pushing for an end to Europe’s damaging biofuels policies.
However, we were disappointed that our own minister, Andrew Mitchell, remained silent on the issue.
We are seeking feedback on why this issue was not raised by the UK and are asking him how he intends to take forward work to address the impact of Europe’s policies on development. We will keep you posted.