Brussels, 21 February - Environmental groups
BirdLife International, EEB, Friends of the Earth and Transport and
Environment, welcome UK transport secretary Ruth Kelly's announcement that the
UK will initiate a wide ranging review of biofuel production. The green groups
expressed their hope that other member states will engage in this review and
that it will lead to a re-think of the EU's 10 per cent biofuel target proposed
under the Renewables Directive .
The groups also reiterated their strong
support for the overall 20 per cent renewables target and pointed out that
meeting this target would in fact be easier without a specific biofuels target.
Hontelez, Secretary General of the European Environment Bureau said: "This timely
announcement from the UK government should be an important turning point in EU
policy. It is highly unlikely that the EU can reach its 10% biofuel target
sustainably and this review is urgently needed."
of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "It is clear that agrofuels are not a solution
to climate change. Using crops to feed cars instead of people is a recipe for
disaster and should be abandoned immediately."
Brunner, Agriculture spokesman for BirdLife International said: "More and more
scientific evidence is showing that increasing demand for biofuels is putting
enormous strains on ecosystems with little guarantee of reducing GHG
Meyer of Transport and Environment said: "It is high time that policy makers reconsider
the 10% biofuels target. It would be much more sensible to look at the actual
climate performance of all transport fuels, an alternative that is already on
the table now."
The NGO's stressed that, regardless of what
happens to the 10 per cent biofuels target, stringent sustainability safeguards
must be developed and applied to ensure the sustainability of the biofuels that
are already on the market.
Notes to editors:
 In March 2007 the European Council endorsed
a target that all transport fuel should contain 10% biofuels by 2020. However,
they added conditions that it should be cost-effective, production should be
sustainable and so-called second-generation fuels are commercialised. Since
then there has been growing evidence that most biofuels are neither sustainable
nor cost effective and second generation still far from being commercialised:
In January, a leaked report by the EU's own scientists concluded that the costs
of using biofuels outweigh the benefits and questioned whether they would
reduce greenhouse gases. A growing number of academics, institutions and
non-government organisations are calling for the EU's 10 per cent target to be
Kerstin Meyer, T&E, +32-497800862
Ariel Brunner, BirdLife International,
Pieter de Pous, EEB, +32-2891306
Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth, +49 1609