EU Energy Ministers fail to go public on disastrous impact of biofuels policy on the world’s poor

In reaction to today’s EU Energy Ministers’ statement on their debate about Europe’s post 2020 renewable energy strategy, Natalia Alonso, Head of Oxfam’s EU office, said:

"At a time of high and volatile food prices it is disappointing that EU Ministers have not publicly questioned Europe’s biofuels policy, which is undermining poor communities’ right to food and land.

“We cannot continue to burn food in our petrol tanks while poor families go hungry. Biofuels mandates must be dropped now and taken off the table for the future.”

“European governments and the European Commission must not cave in to pressure from the biofuels industry which is fighting a draft EU legislative proposal, leaked to the press last week, recommending limits to the use of crop-based biofuels.”

Latest news: EU Energy and Climate Commissioners just confirmed they planned to limit crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of total energy consumption and said they were not pushing for biofuels that would compete with food, as just reported by news agency Reuters.

Notes to Editors

  • Today Oxfam launched “Hunger Grains” - a new report looking at the impacts of the EU’s biofuels policy on food prices and land rights. Click here to read the media release.

  • Oxfam calls on EU governments to scrap biofuels mandates immediately.

Technically, so that they are not in contravention of EU law, this means that the EU 2020 target for 10% renewable energy in transport must also be scrapped. At the moment, EU governments are also discussing 2030 targets for renewable energy - it is crucial that no new target is set for renewable energy in transport as this is likely to be met almost entirely using biofuels.

Today EU Energy Ministers discussed the European Commission’s policy blueprint for 2030 (Renewable Energy: a major player in the European energy market). 

According to a draft EC legislative proposal, leaked to the press last week, "The Commission is of the view that in the period after 2020 biofuels should only be subsidised if they are not produced from crops used for food and feed." This proposal was contained in long-awaited EU plans to address the indirect land use change (ILUC) impact of biofuels. Click here to read Oxfam’s reaction. EU Energy and Climate Commissioners just confirmed they planned to limit crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of total energy consumption and said they were not pushing for biofuels that would compete with food, as just reported by news agency Reuters.

Contact information: 

Angela Corbalan on + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org