Monday, 08 April 2013

Ministers block EU proposal to limit some biofuels

A majority of EU environment ministers expressed concern over the European Commission’s proposed 5% cap on the inclusion of biofuels in member states’ renewable energy targets, despite evidence that the fuel can have a worse impact on carbon emissions than conventionally extracted oil, and that demand for fuels from grain crops like wheat or soy would drive higher food prices and encourage land-grabs in countries producing the monoculture feedstocks.
Leading the calls in last environment council (11 March 2013) for a weakening of the proposals were a bloc of Central European countries- Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Ministers in the 11 March energy council expressed doubts over the science behind indirect land use change (ILUC), saying it was not robust enough to warrant strong EU regulation. They feel that if supply is kept within Europe, it will minimise the impact of the monoculture cultivation abroad.
The member states blocking the proposal say a cap on biofuels may prevent them from meeting the EU’s 2020 target of 10% renewables in the EU’s transport fuel mix.
Only the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium and Denmark have expressed support for the use of an ILUC-based accounting model, which would rank biofuel sources according to their lifecycle carbon emissions.
In Indonesia, the vast production of palm oil for fuel sources was driving land-grabs from indigenous populations who do not carry written documentation proving their ownership of the land, said Rinting Siten, a member of Indonesia’s Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago. He added that the monocultures were threatening food security and that agro-toxics were making local water supplies undrinkable.

Source: Euractiv