Full carbon accounting on the table
The European Parliament's environment committee voted today
on legislation to limit the quantities of 'food based' biofuels in renewable
energy transport targets for Europe.
MEPs voted with a 60% majority to:
- Introduce a limit on biofuels that
compete with food for land and water – but at 5.5% of transport energy,
representing an increase from the current level of 4.5%.
- Introduce correct accounting for the full
costs of biofuels on the climate, including CO2 from felling forests,
plundering peatlands, and expanding agriculture (so-called ILUC).
- Continue subsidising the use of food for fuel
until 2020 – risking more hunger and reduced food consumption.
Reacting to the results of the vote, Robbie Blake,
biofuels campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The
result of the vote shows MEPs have understood that biofuels cause hunger, deforestation
and carbon emissions. But they have not voted for strong enough action to
remove these threats.
"This vote would put a necessary pause on the
expansion of biofuels, but we need to end biofuels competing with food
production by phasing out this misguided use of food for fuel altogether."
The amendments the environment committee voted on today
will next be put to a vote of the full Parliament plenary on September 10 in
New analysis released this week shows growing crops for
biofuels would lead to less food being produced, forcing more people into
hunger. The use of certain crops that have been predicted to have modest carbon
savings – such as bio-ethanol from wheat and maize – would directly remove
quantities of food from the food chain and force people to eat less to reduce
carbon, reveals the new paper by leading scientist Timothy Searchinger .
- - -
 'Understanding the Biofuel Trade-offs between Indirect land use
change (ILUC), Hunger and Poverty' – research paper
by Timothy Searchinger and summary briefing by Friends of the Earth