“Today’s vote is a positive step away from bad biofuels that compete with food crops, towards a policy that makes sense for the environment and future generations”, said Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcoming the vote to reform the EU’s biofuels policy. Speaking from Brussels after voting in the Environment committee, Ms. Childers said:
“The EU’s ambitions and targets for cleaner fuels were spectacularly backfiring due to the increasing use of biofuels that, all things considered, actually emitted more greenhouse gas than fossil fuels such as diesel and petrol.
“Despite conservative opposition from the right, we managed to pass amendments that will put a 6% cap on the use of land-based biofuels to meet our renewable targets for transport.
“This will apply not only to biofuels made from edible crops but also to other crops that also compete with food crops for land use, even if they are not edible themselves.
“I have also worked with like-minded colleagues to ensure that we account for the greenhouse gas emissions that result from, for instance, deforestation, as more land is occupied elsewhere by agriculture to produce food no longer available from the land now used for biofuels.
“We had come to a point where the greening targets we set ourselves in the EU were actually fuelling plant crop solutions that were actually more damaging to the climate.
“This will be our second time trying to persuade the EU Member State governments to fix this badly broken policy. We must secure a vote by the full parliament and then persuade the Council of EU ministers to subscribe to it.
“I would want to see an even more ambitious text, with stricter criteria for what qualifies advanced biofuels that don’t displace food crops, and a lower threshold allowed for land using crops, but if national governments come to sign off on what we achieved today, we can seriously improve the situation.
“If we allow things to remain as they now stand, by 2020, we will have released extra carbon emissions – from biofuels alone – that are equivalent to putting between 14 and 29 million more cars on EU roads. This is crazy, and the conventional biofuels sector must understand it.”