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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

NGOs take Commission to court over biofuels reports

Four environmental groups have sued the European Union's executive for withholding documents they say will add to a growing dossier of evidence that biofuels harm the environment and push up food prices. The lawsuit, lodged with the EU's General Court, the bloc's second highest court, alleges several violations of European laws on transparency and democracy.The suit was filed on 8 March by ClientEarth, Transport & Environment, the European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife International. At stake is the EU's commitment to its goal of getting a tenth of its road fuels from renewable sources such as biofuels by 2020 - a target that has spawned an EU industry worth around five billion euros ($6.8 billion) a year and a big market for imports from Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia. Some of the documents raise the prospect of higher EU farm incomes, but cite concerns that plant-based biofuels could create food shortages for the world's poorest. Others suggest biofuels can drive up demand for land, encouraging farmers in tropical areas to expand cropland into sensitive areas such as wetlands and rainforests - which would have a detrimental environmental impact.

Source: Euractiv

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