Oxfam’s reaction to EU biofuels vote: Important first step but must go much further

“The European Parliament has made important progress in reducing reliance on biofuels.”
Rob Bailey
Oxfam's Biofuels Policy Adviser
Published: 11 September 2008

Oxfam welcomed today’s vote by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE committee) to reduce the EU’s ambitious targets for biofuels in transport fuel but would have liked it to go further by dropping biofuels from the renewable energy directive altogether.

MEPs supported an earlier vote that biofuels should comprise 5% of transport fuels by 2015, as opposed to 10% by 2020 with no interim targets. They also included a clause for a review into the social impacts of biofuels before there are any further increases. This is especially important given the links identified between biofuels and escalating food prices.

Oxfam’s biofuels policy adviser Rob Bailey said: "While it could have gone further and dropped biofuels from the renewable energy directive altogether, by including a strong review clause and standards to protect vulnerable people's human rights, labor rights and land rights, the European Parliament has made important progress.

“It is now up to member states to follow the Parliament's lead and to place the needs of poor people and the environment before those of powerful industrial and agricultural lobbies, rather than seek to water down the MEPs’ proposals.”