Biofuels consultation launched
The Commission has launched its official consultation on biofuels, amid growing concern among policy makers that the environmental benefits are less clear cut than previously thought. Governments, businesses, NGOs and private individuals have until 4 June to make comments, after last month’s publication of a consultation document. Legislative proposals to set EU targets for increasing the use of biofuels in transport are expected later this year.
The document suggests that biofuels producers might have to show the life-cycle impact of their fuels, so environmental damage in the production process does not cancel out any benefits gained by replacing oil-based fuels. It also floats the idea that land must not be used for biofuels if it results in a loss of biodiversity or a net reduction of land for growing food.
T&E has argued for a low-carbon fuels target to promote only the most climate-friendly fuels as well as additional sustainability guarantees for biofuel production methods. The European Commission and the state of California both proposed low-carbon fuels policies in January.
The increasingly likely competition between food and biofuels for the same land was highlighted by the head of the food giant Unilever, Günther Buck, at a concerence last month organised by Green MEPs. Buck said that some form of agricultural intensification will be necessary if global demand for food is to be met, and taking land for biofuels will only make the problem worse.
This news story is taken from the May 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.