Sep 17, 2012 - International aid agency Oxfam today said 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, and called on the European Union (EU) to scrap biofuels targets.
The statement comes ahead of today’s meeting of EU energy ministers, where the European Commission's renewable energy policy blueprint for 2030 will be discussed. Under current EU law, 10% of transport energy should be sourced from renewables by 2020.
According to the report, land used to produce biofules for the EU in 2008 could have produced enough wheat and maize to feed 127 million people in the whole year. In 2008, biofuels accounted for 3.5% of EU transport fuel.
Oxfam also criticised the cost of biofuels mandates to European consumers, saying that the targets could drain some EUR 30 (USD 39) per year from the pockets of every adult by 2020. In 2008, the cost of incentives for biofuel production in the EU was about EUR 3 billion.
"Europe has helped spark a global rush for biofuels that is forcing poor families from their homes, while big business piles up the profits," said Natalia Alonso, head of Oxfam's EU office. Alonso described the current rise in global food prices as a "loud alarm bell" for EU energy ministers and said that if EU governments did not scrap biofuel mandates, many more people would be driven into poverty.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.310)
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