ActionAid welcomes a report released today which says current UK and European policies on biofuels are unethical.
After an 18-month inquiry the Nuffield Council on Bioethics said that government biofuel targets in the UK and EU ‘may do more harm than good’. This is because the production of biofuels is damaging the environment, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, pushing up food prices and causing human rights violations in developing countries.
The European Union wants at least 10 per cent of transport fuels to come from renewable sources within the next 10 years. This target will be met in the main by industrial biofuels – fuels made on an industrial scale from agricultural crops, including important staple foods. The majority are likely to come from developing countries.
ActionAid’s experience has been that turning more food into fuel has had a devastating impact on the ability of the world’s poorest people to make ends meet and feed their families.
Josie Cohen, ActionAid’s biofuels campaigner said: “Today’s report from the Nuffield Council confirms what ActionAid has been saying for some time now, that the EU and UK’s biofuels targets are having a negative effect on the progress the world is making on global hunger and climate change.
“This report comes at a crucial time, as the UK government is currently consulting around how to meet the EU’s targets for biofuels. We hope this report will encourage the government to scrap UK biofuel targets and instead invest in genuinely sustainable ways of reducing transport emissions’’.