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  • Letter to Barroso from 100+ organisations on biofuels

    Over 100 civil society organisations have written to President Barroso and his Commissioner colleagues calling for the full climate impact of biofuels, including indirect land use change, to be taken into account in two key pieces of EU legislation.   The full text of the letter appears below.

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    Dear President Barroso,
    Dear Commissioners,

    Europe’s use of biofuels to fuel its vehicles risks driving land grabs and deforestation, increasing food prices, exacerbating poverty and hunger, and accelerating climate change. We are seriously concerned that the Commission has not yet taken action to ensure that Europe’s green transport policy discourages those biofuels that cause higher greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels[1].

    Scientists have made it clear that urgent action is needed, warning about the high levels of emissions that result from indirect land use change (ILUC). According to the results of the Commission’s own studies, the carbon footprint of biodiesel can be worse than that of fossil fuels once these indirect side-effects are taken into account[2].

    Land that would otherwise be used to feed people and livestock now satisfies the EU’s growing hunger for biofuels. New lands must be ploughed up elsewhere for food and feed, destroying vital ecosystems and carbon stores like forests and peat land, a process that releases millions of tons of emissions and accelerates climate change. This reality undermines the environmental benefits that EU biofuels policy promises.

    Without effective policy measures, subsidised biofuels consumed in Europe are highly unlikely to reduce the rising contribution of Europe’s transport sector to global climate change, and threaten to undermine the otherwise positive outcomes of renewable energy and fuel quality policies. 

    Moreover, increasing the use of biofuels can also squeeze food supplies, amplifying the risk of food crises (and exacerbating land-grabbing conflicts across the world). Industrial biofuels production requires large amounts of land and other natural resources such as water, which should be used to meet the basic needs of local populations, not to sustain extraction of energy for foreign market.

    The Commission is about to meet to decide on its legislative proposal on how to deal with the issue of ILUC. We call on you, as an immediate first step to prevent the use of the most climate-damaging biofuels, to introduce a proposal for feedstock-specific ILUC emission factors when calculating carbon footprints in both the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives.

    Yours sincerely,

    EU AND INTERNATIONAL

    ActionAid
    BirdLife Europe
    Can Europe
    CDM Watch 
    CEEweb for Biodiversity
    CIDSE – together for global justice 
    ClientEarth
    European Environmental Bureau
    Friends of the Earth Europe
    Greenpeace
    Naturefriends International
    Oxfam
    Transport & Environment
    Wetlands International
    WWF EPO

    AUSTRIA

    BirdLife Austria                 
    EU-Umweltbuero
    SOL – People for Solidarity, Ecology and Lifestyle
    VCÖ – Mobilität mit Zukunft.

    BELGIUM

    Bond Beter Leefmilieu Vlaanderen – BBLV
    Centre tricontinental (CETRI) 
    Inter-Environnement Wallonie
    NATAGORA
    Natuurpunt
    SOS FAIM Belgique

    BULGARIA

    Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/ BirdLife Bulgaria

    CYPRUS                 

    BirdLife Cyprus
    Friends of the Earth Cyprus

    CZECH REPUBLIC

    Czech Society for Ornithology
    Glopolis

    DENMARK

    Danish Society for Nature Conservation
    The Danish Ecological Council
    Verdens Skove (Forests of the World)

    FRANCE

    Comité français pour la solidarité internationale
    FNAUT
    France Nature Environnement (FNE)
    Réseau Action Climat-France 

    FINLAND

    BirdLife Finland
    Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU Kehys
    NGO Platform KEPA 

    GERMANY

    Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe
    INKOTA-netzwerk
    Brot für die Welt
    MISEREOR
    Pro REGENWALD
    Pro Wildlife
    Rettet den Regenwald/Rainforest Rescue

    GREECE

    ELLINIKI ETAIRIA – Society for the Environment & Cultural Heritage
    Hellenic Ornithological Society/ BirdLife Greece              

    GUATEMALA

    Promoción y el Desarrollo de la Comunidad (CEIBA)

    HUNGARY

    MTVSZ/Friends of the Earth Hungary

    INDONESIA

    KePPaK PEREMPUAN
    Lentera Rakyat
    WALHI – Friends of the Earth Indonesia

    LUXEMBOURG

    Caritas
    Catholic Church Luxembourg
    Cercle de Coopération des ONG de développement
    Fondation  Bridderlech Deelen
    Justice et Paix / Justitia et Pax
    Mouvement Ecologique – Friends of the Earth Luxembourg        
    Natur&ëmwelt  (LNVL)
    SOS Faim Luxembourg

    Mauritius

    Maudesco Friends of the Earth

    NETHERLANDS

    Natuur & Milieu
    Nederlands cultuurlandschap

    PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    Center for Environmental Law And Community Rights Inc./Friends of the Earth-Papua New Guinea.

    PHILIPPINES

    Ecological Society of the Philippines

    POLAND

    Animal Conservation and Wildlife Society (ACWF)
    ISD – Instytut Na Rzecz Ekorozwoju – Institute for Sustainable Development

    PORTUGAL          

    Oikos – cooperação e desenvolvimento
    Quercus

    ROMANIA

    AGORA – Working Group for Sustainable Development
    Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania
    Re.Generation
    TERRA Mileniul III Foundation 

    SIERRA LEONE
    Friends of the Earth- Sierra Leone

    SLOVAKIA

    Centre for sustainable alternatives
    Slovakia-Southern Africa Society
    SOS/BirdLife

    SLOVENIA            

    DOPPS-BirdLife
    Focus – Association for Sustainable Development
    Institute for Sustainable Development

    SPAIN

    Amigos de la Tierra España.
    Ecologistas en Acción
    Salva la Selva
    SEO/BirdLife 

    UK

    Campaign against Climate Change
    Christian Ecology Link
    Compassion in World Farming
    Down to Earth Indonesia
    Elephant Family
    Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
    GreenSpeed
    Occupy London Energy, Equity & Environment Working Group 
    Orangutan Foundation
    Real Bread Campaign
    Sumatran Orangutan Society
    York and Ryedale Friends of the Earth

    USA

    Clean Air Task Force
    Environmental Working Group 
    Friends of the Earth USA
    National Wildlife Federation
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    Rainforest Action Network (RAN) 



    [1] Within article 19.6 of the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), the Commission was due to submit a report on ILUC by 31 December 2010 accompanied if appropriate by a proposal, based on the best available science, containing a concrete methodology.

    [2] IFPRI study “Assessing the Land Use Change Consequences of European Biofuel Policies”, October 2011 https://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/biofuelsreportec2011.pdf