Please do this today: ask your MEP to vote for the lowest possible limit on the addition of biofuels to transport fuels by clicking here and supporting Action Aid’s campaign.
There is a vote tomorrow where MEPs will be asked to decide whether to limit biofuels to 5.5% or 6.5% of transport fuel volumes. The right answer is 0% – and 5.5% is closer to 0% than is 6.5%.
Biofuels sound good but aren’t.
When Friends of the Earth, the RSPB and Action Aid are all on the same side and all regard something as a big problem then you can be fairly sure that it is. Biofuels are a big problem for wildlife (rainforest and grassland destruction), the climate (when indirect land-use changes are taken into account then they rarely save much or any carbon) and people (large areas of land which used to grow food are now used for fuel).
I contacted my MEPs through Action Aid some time ago.
This is what I received from my LibDem MEP, Bill Newton-Dunn – I approve!
Dear Mark. Thank you very much for the message. I agree with your position. It is a very complex subject - known as the Indirect Land Use Change ("ILUC") amendment to the EU Fuel Quality Directive and the EU Renewable Energy Directive. It seeks to correct the negative side-effects of the EU's support for growing biofuels, in order to ensure that the subsidised biofuels achieve the greenhouse gas reductions which have been promised to the world by Europe. The Proposal before us now is to put a ceiling on food based biofuels so that their contribution to the national state targets across the EU would be limited to 5%. Political decisions, however well-meaning, are often full of unintended consequences. And one effect of this subsidising of biofuels by Europe is the effect on the economies of developing countries. Hence, my intention to vote next week for the 5% ceiling. I will keep you informed about what happens. All good wishes Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat MEP
I received this from Emma McClarkin my Conservative MEP – she doesn’t appear to know what she is doing:
Thank you for contacting me about the use of food crops as biofuels and the upcoming vote on the issue in September. In responding to you I have been in contact with my colleague Julie Girling MEP who has been following this on behalf of the Conservative delegation. Her reply is outlined below:
As the Shadow Rapporteur for the ECR Group for this file in both the Agriculture (AGRI) and Environment (ENVI) Committees I have been working on this topic for quite some time, and I am aware of many of the challenges and issues we face in amending this proposal.
Regarding the use of food crops to make biofuels, after many lengthy discussions on the best way forward, the ENVI Committee adopted a consolidated amendment setting a 5.5% cap on the contribution that biofuels made from certain ‘food crops’ (i.e. cereal and other starch rich crops, sugars and oil crops) can make to targets under the Renewable Energy Directive. This amendment also introduced a sub-target of 2% for non-land using advanced biofuels to boost their production and achieve greater carbon reductions.
Concerning ILUC factors, I supported an amendment calling for ILUC emissions to be accounted from 2020 as part of the obligation to reduce the carbon intensity of transport fuels supplied under the Fuel Quality Directive. This builds on the original Commission proposal which calls for ILUC emissions to be reported from 2015.
In addition, the Committee called for a Commission report to be submitted to the European Parliament before the end of 2015 to consider the positive and negative environmental and economic impacts of biofuels produced from waste residues, co-products or non-land using feedstocks.
I have been urged to vote for a 5% cap on biofuels grown on land that could be used to grow food and have brought this to the attention of Mrs Girling who, as shadow rapporteur for the Conservative delegation, has promised to take this into consideration.
I do hope this has addressed the concerns you have. Thank you again for contacting me.
But I haven’t had anything from Labour yet – how hopeless!