The EU directive promoting the use of energy from renewable sources requires millions of tons of biofuels to be added to gasoline and diesel fuels for road use. A share of 10% will be required in 2020.
Yet biofuels have grave consequences for human nutrition, as they are based almost entirely on food crops: corn, wheat, sugar beet and sugarcane are the raw materials for ethanol, while rapeseed, soybean and palm oil are used for biodiesel. Contrary to the claims of the biofuels lobby, the share of residual and waste materials and non-edible plants is minimal.
The production of biofuels requires huge tracts of land that are not only lost to food production, but also to nature, in Europe and worldwide: already 21 percent of Germany’s arable land – 2.5 million hectares – is being used to cultivate renewable fuel resources.
According to the German government, over half (53%) of the required ethanol is imported from overseas. Brazil – the world’s largest ethanol exporter – is clearing tropical forests and savannas for a sugarcane monoculture.
The production of biodiesel also means importing vast quantities of palm and soybean oil from Southeast Asia and South America. Rainforests are being burned for palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, while Argentina and Brazil are clearing forests for soybean cultivation.
Even studies produced on behalf of the EU Commission confirm that biofuels are more harmful than petroleum-based fossil fuels.
The EU now intends to review its biofuels policy. Blending quotas and subsidies are a major source of income, however, and the powerful European biofuels lobby is committed to preventing reason from prevailing over business interests.
Please sign our petition to the EU at https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/mailalert/892?ref=nl&mt=1453.
Start of campaign: Oct 16, 2012