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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Controversy mounts over EU biofuels fall-out

Fresh controversy is mounting within the European Union over biofuels and their unintended impact on tropical forests and wetlands, documents show. One leaked document from the EU's executive, the European Commission, suggests biofuel from palm oil might get a boost from new environmental criteria under development. But another contains a warning from a top official that taking full account of the carbon footprint of biofuels might "kill" an EU industry with annual revenues of around $5 billion. The European Union aims to get a tenth of its road fuels from renewable sources by the end of this decade, but has met with criticism that biofuels can force up food prices and do more harm than good in the fight against climate change. Most of the 10% goal will be met through biofuels, creating a market coveted by EU farming nations, which produce about 10 billion litres a year, as well as exporters such as Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia. Environmentalists say biofuels made from grains and oilseeds are forcing farmers to expand agricultural land by hacking into rainforests and draining wetlands, known as "indirect land-use change" (ILUC).

Source: Euractiv