UK may call for change in EU biofuels targets

22 April 2008 14:23  [Source: ICIS news]

By Mark Watts


UK may call for change in EU biofuels targets - PM Gordon BrownLONDON (ICIS news)--The UK will push for a change in EU biofuels targets if a policy review shows increased production of sustainable fuels is driving up global food prices and harming the environment, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Tuesday.


The EU policy to source 10% of its road transport fuel from crops by 2020 has been widely criticised by environmental and charity groups, which claim it is contributing to a global food crisis and deforestation in developing countries.


“We need to look closely at the impact on food prices and the environment of different production methods and to ensure we are more selective in our support,” Brown said in a statement.


“We now know that biofuels, intended to promote energy independence and combat climate change, are frequently energy-inefficient,” he said.


The government ordered a review of the environmental and economic effects of biofuels in February.


“If our UK review shows that we need to change our approach, we will also push for change in EU biofuels targets,” said Brown.


Brown and international development secretary Douglas Alexander were meeting with scientists and experts from the UN, Africa and the EU to discuss plans to tackle the “world food crisis”.


“We must also do more to explore the links between climate change and food, and particularly their impact on the livelihoods and vulnerability of the very poorest, who are likely to be most affected by climate change,” added Brown.


Last week UK introduced the first stage of its renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO), whereby all diesel and petrol sold must contain 2.5% biofuel content, increase to 5% by 2010.


Oxfam, among other groups, criticised the policy, saying it would cost UK taxpayers £500m ($990m/€620m), and may lead to 60m people worldwide being forced off their land to make way for biofuels plantations.


($1 = €0.63/£0.50)


Bookmark Simon Robinson's Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels

By: Mark Watts
+44 20 8652 3214

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