(SeeNews) - Sep 18, 2012 - The European Commission (EC) is now working on a draft proposal to limit the use of biofuels derived from food crops to no more than 5% of the transport fuel needs of member states, as a result of environmental and food market concerns.
Under the European Union’s (EU) climate change targets, member states are required to cover with green fuel 10% of their transportation fuel consumption by the end of the decade. With the new proposal, to be ready in October, half of the 10% will need to come from the so-called next- or second-generation biofuels, which are made from organic, agricultural and other wastes.
The proposal needs to be greenlighted by all member states, the EC noted.
The commission's move has been motivated by rising concern that the increased use of first-generation biofuels was pushing food prices up. To limit the effect on the environment and on people's lives of its green policies, the EU will also include new requirements to cut the effect of the used renewable fuels on land use and energy intensity. Furthermore, the EC may discontinue its support for food-based green fuels after 2020.
On Monday International aid agency Oxfam called on the EU to scrap biofuels targets, saying that Europe's rising demand for biofuels was deepening hunger in poor countries by driving up global food prices and forcing people off their land. According to the report, land used to produce biofuels for the EU in 2008 could have produced enough wheat and maize to feed 127 million people in the whole year. In that very year, biofuels accounted for 3.5% of EU transport fuel.