This week a proposal on new European legislation (no honestly, it is exciting!) around biofuels was leaked which gave us our clearest indication yet that we are winning the argument on biofuels, as well as indicating good opportunities for progress towards our campaign aims. The proposal includes a 5% cap on biofuels made from food crops and incentives for using waste products (such as cooking oil) which has much greater potential to allow European countries to meet their targets without having to use biofuels with damaging social and climate impacts.
Whilst only a proposal, it gives a good indication of the way the debate in Europe is going. It is a significant win in terms of making such an explicit link to the food versus fuel debate and represents clear admission that the EU 2020 ‘biofuel’ target is fundamentally flawed. The leaked proposal was swiftly followed by the French announcing they would call for a pause in the development of biofuels which compete with food at both international and European level, in a bid to avoid crisis prompted by surging grain prices. And all this this comes on top the growing clamour for action to end or suspend biofuels targets in response to current rising food prices.
Whilst we welcome the direction of the new proposal, it does not yet go far enough - without a total ban on food and land based fuels, millions will still go hungry because food prices will continue to be affected and land will still be grabbed.
Clare Coffey, biofuels policy advisor at ActionAid said: “A law to limit biofuels made from food crops is a very encouraging first step, though largely tokenistic since the limit would be set above current food to fuel levels. As recent events in the US drought-stricken corn-belt show, a mandate to turn food into fuel can destabilise world food prices and worsen world hunger. Crop based biofuels should have no part in EU or UK renewable energy policy”.
We will continue to campaign around the damaging consequences of biofuels targets and call on the EU to bring in legislation that will end them for good and stop all food and land being used to fuel cars. We will also continue to put pressure on the UK to drop its own controversial biofuel targets, and are hopeful this new legislation, if passed, will allow the UK more space to end its own use of damaging biofuels.
Help us build this pressure by signing our petition calling on the UK and EU to end their support for biofuels.