EU turnaround on Biofuels

The ill-considered rush to provide biofuels for Europe & the world has led to a number of negative environmental issues.

Where biofuel was once seen as an easy alternative to producing greener vehicles, it was thought that simply fuelling the same old vehicles with "greener" fuel would be the answer to the CO2 issues.

However the use of biofuel, mainly due to these negative issues, is almost negligible.

In particular the EU's policy to provide 10% of its road fuel from plants has created a situation where, for instance, natural rainforest habitat in Indonesia has been destroyed to plant palm trees from which palm oil can be extracted. Unfortunately the gains in getting biofuel from palm oil are grossly offset by the loss of biodiversity and the orang-utan is under threat of extinction due to deforestation.

In some extreme cases there are reports of people being forced from their land by greedy companies who then plant palms for biofuel production.

The interesting change is that it's not the traditional energy companies that are producing fuel - it's now in the hands of food companies!

So Europe, quick to react to the situation of the biofuel craze, but slow on other markets for palm oil, is to revise its policies on biofuels. Stavros Dimas, EU Environment Commissioner, has said that Europe intends to clampdown on biofuels from palm oil where natural environment is destroyed & poor people are driven from their lands, by introducing a certification scheme.

The EU would do well to work closely with Friends of the Earth and work toward making ALL palm oil production sustainable and not just palm oil for biofuel purposes.