The report highlights the failure of EU law to account for the environmental impact of indirect land use change (ILUC) when calculating the greenhouse gas benefits of biofuels. When agricultural land is converted for biofuel production, land elsewhere will be converted for agriculture, releasing CO2 emissions, hence the term ‘indirect’ land use change.
Assessing the impact of ILUC and incorporating it in biofuels policy is critically important to ensuring biofuels reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector rather than increase them.
The Commission is set to propose how it will integrate the impact of indirect land use change into biofuels sustainability requirements in Spring 2010.
The report also warns that current EU legislation fails to address the risks to biodiversity and to vulnerable communities in some of the poorest regions of the world.
The report 'Biofuels : Handle With Care' will be launched this afternoon at an event in the European Parliament in Brussels hosted by MEPs Fiona Hall (ALDE) and Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP). The summary and recommendations are also available separately in English, French and German.