BirdLife and T&E react to EU biofuels target
The EU strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels is in disarry today following the European Commission's proposal to massively increase biofuel use, according to environmental groups BirdLife International and Transport and Environment (T&E). Whereas both organisations strongly support the Commission's proposal of a 20% target for renewable energy by 2020, they argue that the 10% biofuels target is a dangerous dead end.
The EU announcement comes despite repeated warnings from a wide range of authoritative figures and organisations, including the Commission's own scientific body (the Joint Research Centre), that many biofuels do not result in greenhouse gas emissions savings compared with conventional oil and that there are grave additional environmental and social consequences from their production.
"It is difficult to understand why the Commission is pushing forward so strongly with a deeply flawed policy, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the risks greatly outweigh the benefits" —Dr. Clairie Papazoglou, Head of the European Division of BirdLife International
Bizarrely, the plan comes one year after the Commission proposed a much better system for guaranteeing greenhouse gas emission reductions from transport fuel. The draft EU Fuel Quality Directive proposed an obligatory 10% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuel production between 2011 and 2020. EU environment ministers and the European Parliament's Environment Committee have already pledged support for that proposal making the biofuels target not only misplaced but also redundant.
Jos Dings, director of Transport and Environment said: "There is no environmental reason for maintaining these obsolete biofuel commitments when the Commission already has a sensible plan to cut emissions from all transport fuel production. It just doesn't make sense to single out one type of fuel and promote it regardless of everything we now know about the consequences. The agriculture industry and the car lobby love biofuels regardless of the environmental impact, but thankfully the rest of the world is finally waking up to the dangers: it's high time the Commission did too."
Credits: BirdLife, T&E