News that the EU is proposing a 5% limit on the use of food-based biofuels has been welcomed by ActionAid as an important symbolic first step.
But ActionAid warns that 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.
After waiting two years, the proposal was set to address greenhouse gas emission from indirect land use change. But in a surprising twist, the European Commission has buckled to industry pressure and taken the heart out of the proposal: it does not address the climate change emissions associated with EU biofuel targets.
Clare Coffey, Policy Adviser at ActionAid UK said: “We have seen food prices skyrocketing in recent years, fuelled amongst other things by biofuels targets and subsidies. ActionAid has serious doubts as to whether this new policy will do anything to change that.
“While the proposal to introduce a 5% limit on the amount of food based biofuels that can count towards renewable energy targets is an encouraging and important first step, it may be largely tokenistic since the limit would be set above current food to fuel levels. Nor would it necessarily stop member states from going beyond it.
”Furthermore, by not proposing to account for greenhouse gas emissions associated with EU biofuels, the European Commission makes an unacceptable mockery of the EU’s commitment to tackling climate change.”
The proposed EU legislation still represents a major ideological shift in the European Commission’s thinking around one of its most notorious policies. It is a clear admission that the EU 2020 ‘biofuel’ target is fundamentally flawed.
ActionAid’s campaign calls on EU Member States and European Parliament to bring in legislation that will genuinely tackle climate change, end damaging targets and subsidies and stop all food and land being used to fuel cars.
Ask the government to end support for biofuels — Sign our petition.
Notes to editors
- If agreed by the EU Member States and the European Parliament, the legislation would mean that there would be a ‘limit’ on the amount of food based fuel that EU member states could use to meet the 10% renewable energy in transport target under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Furthermore any national subsidies to food based fuels would end after 2020.
- Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC). When agricultural land is used to grow biofuels, the demand for food and feed crops remains. Therefore, farmers are forced to find alternative land to grow these crops. This can lead to land use change, such as clearing forest areas, which implies that asubstantial increase in CO2 emissions could being released into the atmosphere.