The increased use of biofuels could be disastrous for biodiversity and create more environmental problems than they solve, if sustainability safeguards are not added to EU policy, says a joint statement issued by The European Federation for Transport & the Environment (T&E), BirdLife International and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) following a recent joint conference on “A sustainable path for biofuels in the EU”, aimed to coincide with a meeting of EU energy ministers to discuss biofuels.
The EU’s biofuels directive targets replacing 5.75% of fossil fuels with biofuels in transport by 2010, but since a study part-funded by the Commission indicates that anywhere between14% and 27% of EU agricultural land would be needed if the target were to be met from EU-produced feedstock, large amounts of biofuels would be imported.
T&E policy officer Aat Peterse said: “We are not rejecting biofuels, but as well as the need for environmental safeguards, we must be careful that biofuels don’t distract us from the primary goal of improving energy efficiency … It is essential that we prevent fuels produced by clearing rainforests and protected habitats finding a market in Europe.”
At their recent European Council meeting, 24 EU energy ministers issued a resolution on biofuels which included the possibility of a sustainability certification scheme for transport fuels. This text had originally been deleted but was reinstated, according to T&E.
The European Commission last month launched a consultation on how the current EU biofuels directive is performing, which asks, inter alia: “Is the objective of promoting biofuels still valid?” The consultation closes on 10 July. Submissions should be made to [email protected].
Source: eems-online June 14, 2006.