2010 press releases
Cancun package merely prevents collapse and leaves kyoto protocol on life support
governments urged not to rush into redd deal and focus on effective forest conservation
World Bank should stay out of carbon markets and climate finance
cancun week 2: friends of the earth international analysis
nnimmo bassey to receive 'alternative nobel prize'
the people’s voices: mobilizations in cancun
rich countries must reject any secret text that puts in place process that could kill kyoto
Japan threatens progress at climate talks in Cancun
Forest deals set to harm the environment and reward corporate investors
Governments urged to turn away from carbon trading at climate talks
EUROPE'S BIOFUELS PLANS DRIVING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION
GLOBAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE: 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF KEN SARO-WIWA'S MURDER
UN ADVISORY GROUP ON CLIMATE FINANCE REPORT FALLS FLAT
high level advisory group on climate change must avoid pitfalls
Market mechanisms are a false solution to biodiversity loss
CLIMATE CHANGE: RICH NATIONS BACKTRACKING
Climate Talks : Developed Countries Must Stop Stalling
'Alternative Nobel Prize' Awarded to FoEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey
HEADS OF STATE MUST TAKE FIRM STEPS TO HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS
TREE PLANTATIONS CAUSE GRAVE PROBLEMS
WORLD BANK LAND GRAB REPORT COMMENT: BIOFUELS CAUSE LAND GRABS
Biofuels for Europe driving land grabbing in Africa
OUTRAGE AT SHELL-FUNDED UN REPORT ON NIGERIA OIL SPILLS
un climate talks: developed nations strangle hope of progress
eu-brazil biofuels deal: "land-grabbing charter"
g20 summit: leaders should aim for 'robin hood tax'
US actions in Bonn threaten strong and just climate agreement
Launch of 'responsible soy' label faces global opposition
Developed countries attempt to launder aid money through World Bank and call it 'climate funds'
Fairness must guide Bonn climate talks: UN must not cede to weak US proposals
biodiversity lost at unprecedented rate
european union complicit in human right violations in latin america
European Transnationals Accused of Rights Violations in Latin America
2010 photo competition winners announced
world bank accused of promoting land grabbing
Bolivian Government Increases its Moral Authority on Climate Change
friends of the earth swaziland director wins prestigious goldman prize
BOLIVIAN CLIMATE CONFERENCE SIGNALS HOPE
FAO Accused of Favouring Polluting Industrial Agriculture
GM crops failing to tackle climate change
'Solidarity and Movements' Photo Competition Starts Today
2010 BIODIVERSITY YEAR: URGENT ACTION NEEDED
 
You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2010 / EUROPE'S BIOFUELS PLANS DRIVING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION

EUROPE'S BIOFUELS PLANS DRIVING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, NOVEMBER 8, 2010 - Plans to increase the use of biofuels in Europe over the next ten years will require up to 69 000 square kilometres of new land worldwide and make climate change worse, a new study reveals today [1]. The report finds that an area over twice the size of Belgium will need to be converted into fields and plantations – putting forests, natural ecosystems and poor communities in danger, if European countries do not change their plans for getting petrol and diesel from food crops by 2020.

The new research analyses for the first time biofuel use planned by the EU’s member states in their renewable energy plans [2], concluding that:
-Europe is set to increase significantly biofuel use by 2020 when biofuels will provide 9.5% of transport fuel – more than 90% of which will come from food crops.
-When indirect land use change is taken into account, biofuels will emit an extra 27 to 56 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year – the equivalent to an extra 12 to 26 million cars on Europe’s roads by 2020.
-Unless EU policy changes, the extra biofuels that Europe will use over the next decade will be on average 81 to 167% worse for the climate than fossil fuels.
 
Under the plans, five countries will be responsible for over two thirds of the increase in emissions. The UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and France are projected to produce the most extra greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels – with up to 13.3, 9.5, 8.6, 5.3 and 3.9 extra million tonnes of CO2 per year respectively.

Adrian Bebb from Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The scale of the damage that European countries will cause with their biofuels plans is now clear – forests and nature will be destroyed on a shocking scale to fuel our cars. The resulting release of climate-damaging greenhouse gases will make biofuels a worse polluter than fossil fuels. The EU needs to urgently review the sustainability of using biofuels and ensure their use does not lead to more climate change or environmental destruction."

Laura Sullivan from ActionAid: "Biofuels are not a climate-friendly solution to our energy needs. The EU plans effectively give companies a blank cheque to continue grabbing land from the world’s poor to grow biofuels to fill our tanks rather than food to fill their stomachs. Europe’s energy policies are putting millions of people in danger, threatening Africa’s fragile food security."

The research, commissioned by a coalition of environmental and development organisations [3], includes indirect land use change impacts caused by biofuels, making it the most realistic assessment so far of the real world impacts of EU biofuels targets. It comes at a key time for EU biofuel policy, with the European Commission due to report on how to address and minimise these emissions by the end of the year.

The groups are calling on EU governments and the European Commission to review urgently the real impacts of biofuels on climate change and food security, and to prioritise energy efficiency in transport. New legislation must take account of the full carbon footprint of biofuels by introducing indirect land use change ‘factors’.

Nusa Urbancic of Transport & Environment said: "This research shows that EU biofuels targets are putting climate policy for transport in reverse gear. Until indirect land use change is fully taken into account, Europe will continue to subsidise an alternative energy that is no better than the fossil fuels it is designed to replace."

FOR MORE INFORMATION

* Francesca Gater, Communications Officer, Friends of the Earth Europe. +32 2 893 1010, francesca.gater@foeeurope.org
* Chris Coxon, Media and Communications Officer, ActionAid. +32 4 88 87 8381, chris.coxon@actionaid.org
* Alessia Pautasso, Communication & Media Officer, BirdLife International. +32 2 541 0781, alessia.pautasso@birdlife.org
* Katherine Sladden, Communications Officer, ClientEarth. +44 203 0305954, ksladden@clientearth.org
* Faustine Defossez, Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, European Environmental Bureau (EEB). +32 2 790 8814, faustine.defossez@eeb.org
* Veerle Dossche, EU Forest Campaigner, FERN. +32 2 894 4696, veerle@fern.org
* Mark Breddy, Communications Manager, Greenpeace European Unit. +32 2 274 1903, mark.breddy@greenpeace.org
* Dudley Curtis, Communications Manager, Transport & Environment. +32 2 893 0845, dudley.curtis@transportenvironment.org
* Alex Kaat, Manager Communications and Advocacy, Wetlands International. +31 6 50 60 1917, Alex.Kaat@wetlands.org


A media briefing, 'Driving to destruction', is available at: www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/ILUC_briefing_November2010.pdf

The report, 'Anticipated Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Expanded Use of Biofuels in the EU' is at: www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/ILUC_report_November2010.pdf
 
Notes for editors:

[1] Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).  November 2010. ‘Anticipated Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Expanded Use of Biofuels in the EU: An Analysis of Member State Performance’. Author: Catherine Bowyer, Senior Policy Analyst. http://www.ieep.eu

[2] The study analyses the 23 plans that had been submitted by October 2010 (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK). http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/transparency_platform/action_plan_en.htm. This forms part of the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

[3] The organisations are: ActionAid, BirdLife International, ClientEarth, European Environmental Bureau, FERN, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Transport & Environment, Wetlands International.

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