Thursday

21st Feb 2019

Letter

EU biofuels policy is false solution to climate problems

  • European biofuels policy jeopardises food security, particularly in developing countries, say a group of Dutch scientists in an open letter (Photo: European Commission)

We, the undersigned, wish to express our sincere worries about the European biofuel policy.

In this letter we urgently implore the new Dutch cabinet to acknowledge that admixture of food crops into fuel causes severe damage to climate, nature and communities. The European admixture policy is a false solution to climate problems. We therefore call upon you to plead that biofuels from food crops have no place in the European 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Recent research – carried out under assignment of the European Commission – points out that admixture leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel from food crops on average emits 1.8 times as much CO2 as fossil fuels and this number increases to three times more in case of biodiesel from palm oil.

Moreover, European admixture policy leads to an increased demand for vegetable oils from food crops and therefore also to increasing demand for agricultural soil for these crops.

To meet this demand, vulnerable ecosystems like tropical forests, wetlands and grasslands are being converted to vast monocultures. This leads to biodiversity losses and increased vulnerability to droughts, floods, land degradation, surface water pollution, blurring of coastal waters and degradation of coral reefs, and also contributes to local climate-extremes.

In addition, increasing demand for biofuel crops leads to increased food prices.

Local food production is threatened as small-scale agriculture disappears and local farmers lose their autonomy, whilst becoming dependent on multi-billion dollar companies and unstable markets.

This jeopardises food security, particularly in developing countries. This has the worst effect on the poorest inhabitants of affected areas.

Above all, biofuel plantations expand without the required free prior informed consent from local people. European admixture policies presently fund land theft, corruption and intimidation, contributing to social conflicts, poverty and inequality in producing countries.

In short, admixture of fuel crop oil relies on the unfounded assumption that this leads to more sustainable fuel use, but in reality causes ecological and social degradation. The policy serves as a veil that obscures the risks involved in fossil fuels while offering no more than a false solution for our energy requirements.

The admixture policy therefore does not meet the sustainability requirements that the EU poses for itself, like reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or protection of biodiversity, wetlands, carbon stocks, soil, water and social sustainability.

A realistic energy policy requires energy savings and truly renewable energy.

We therefore call upon you to:

- acknowledge that the European admixture policy causes climatic, natural and social damage.

- see to it that food crops will no longer be used for biofuels in Europe and to establish this into the European 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

The full list of signatories is available on brandstofbrief.nl

MEPs approve plan to put cap on older biofuels

The European Parliament's environment committee Tuesday approved a plan to try and steer investors away from traditional types of biofuels that have had negative side-effects on food prices, environment and climate change.

Focus

MEPs agree cap on crop-based biofuels

The EU parliament has capped the amount of crop-based biofuels that can be used to reach EU energy targets amid environmental fears.

Magazine

Bioeconomy is a win-win strategy for Finland

"The big problem in the world today is a lack of resources and a lack of bio-diversity," says Finnish environment minister Kimmo Tiilikainen. His country plans to produce what the world needs the most.

Magazine

A sustainable death wish

No one can escape death. But choices over how one's body is disposed of could either lessen or increase your carbon footprint.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  2. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations
  3. No-deal Brexit danger 'very serious', Corbyn says after Brussels meeting
  4. Tusk to back pro-EU candidates in Polish EP vote
  5. Germany rejects UK appeal on Saudi arms sales
  6. French senators decry 'dysfunction' on Macron security aide affair
  7. France to ban far-right groups over antisemitism
  8. Swedish climate activist to face Juncker in Brussels

What does Poland want from the EU?

We propose several changes to the EU, derived from the political philosophy behind the current Polish government, and what Poles expect from the EU - this could be seen as a manifesto Poland wants the next European Commission to tackle.

Migration and May elections - time to get facts right

If misinformation in the field of migration can bring a government down, as in the recent case of Belgium following the country's adoption of the UN migration pact, then it can doubtless produce a populist majority in the European parliament.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  2. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  3. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  4. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  5. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  6. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  7. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  8. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us