A new European-based group calling itself “Biofuelwatch“, on Wednesday issued an open letter addressed to the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and citizens of Europe, urging the EU to abandon its targets for biofuel use in Europe. Already, several other organizations and individuals have signed onto the letter.
The group is responding in part to a recent proposal by the European Commission to establish a mandatory minimum biofuel target of 10% of vehicle fuels by 2020.
The letter sets out eight reasons why the signatories want to abandon the targets:
- The biofuel targets, in the absence of much stronger commitments to reduce consumption, are counter-productive.
- The targets will negatively impact the global South.
- There is a risk of increased climate impacts from the use of biofuels.
- The production of biofuels will increase pressure on world food supplies and further erode food sovereignty.
- The production of biofuels could lead to more human rights violations related to the expansion of monocultures.
- Biofuel targets will fuel the expansion of genetically modified crops.
- If the EU applies incentives and subsidies to biofuels, these will further intensify all the pressures that we foresee from the targets.
- There is no credible certification process available at this point.
The letter concludes:
We therefore call on the Member States to reject the biofuel target for transport and halt all other incentives for biofuel production which could encourage in any way the use of biofuels linked to the problems described above. Instead, the focus should be on drastic reduction of energy use and support for genuinely sustainable renewables.
Support for biofuels has never been as strong in Europe as it has been in the United States, in part because Europeans are less concerned about their dependency on imported oil, and they know they could never produce more than a small fraction of their liquid transport fuel requirements from home-grown biomass themselves.