Europe finally decides to stunt growth of destructive biofuels

Published: 14th April 2015

Today the European Parliament’s Environment Committee approved a deal with EU governments to cap the amount of harmful biofuels used to meet renewable energy targets.

Marc-Olivier Herman, Oxfam’s EU biofuels expert, said:

“The European Parliament and governments have finally decided to tone down a harmful biofuels policy that has only contributed to deprive poor people of food and accelerate the climate change it claims to fight.”

“However, this new 7% cap on crop-based biofuels can only be a first step. Europe must phase out these fuels completely so they can no longer jeopardize food security and contribute to climate change.”

Notes to editors

What’s in the final deal?

  • A 7% cap on biofuels from agricultural crops (in comparison to 8.6% business as usual scenario) – with an option for Member states to go lower.
  • Indirect emissions will be reported on every year by the European Commission and by fuel suppliers by taking into account ‘ILUC factors’. This will increase the transparency of the impacts of this policy for European citizens.
  • Member states should set a 0.5% non-binding target for so-called advanced biofuels while giving “due regard” to safeguards to ensure these biofuels are sustainable (reference to the waste hierarchy as defined under the Waste Framework Directive). As an extra incentive these so-called second generation biofuels will be double counted towards the 10% target.


In October 2012, the European Commission proposed amending the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive by introducing a 5 percent limit for counting food crop-based biofuels towards the 10 percent target for renewable energy in transport fuels by 2020, improving sustainability criteria and promoting the use of advanced biofuels. In September 2013, the European Parliament voted for a 6 percent cap. In June 2014, EU member states proposed a 7 percent cap. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted to stand by their demand for a 6 percent cap in February this year. After today’s vote, the deal will now be formally approved by the European Parliament in a plenary vote on 29 April and by European energy ministers after that.

Contact information

Angela Corbalan on or + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60, @AngelaCorbalan

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