UK government urged to end the silence, and support a cap on biofuels that compete with food

9th Sep 2013

CEOs of Oxfam, ActionAid, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace today sent an open letter to UK Ministers and UK MEPs urging them to grasp crucial opportunities in the coming weeks to help fix the EU's failed biofuels policy.  On 11 September MEPs will vote on new proposed legislation which seeks to limit food based-biofuels to 5%, and EU Ministers look set to agree their position within weeks. In order to put the brakes on the growing demand for biofuels, it is crucial the UK government and UK MEPs support a proposed 5% cap (or less) on biofuels that compete with food, with a view to eventually phasing them out.


Dear UK MEPs and UK Ministers,


We are writing to urge you to grasp crucial opportunities in the coming weeks to help fix the EU's failed biofuels policy - a policy which is fuelling hunger, land grabs and climate change and costing governments and taxpayers billions every year.


On 11 September MEPs will vote on new proposed legislation which seeks to limit food based-biofuels to 5%, and EU Ministers look set to agree their position within weeks. In order to put the brakes on the growing demand for biofuels, it is crucial the UK government and UK MEPs support a proposed 5% cap (or less) on biofuels that compete with food, with a view to eventually phasing them out.


It is also vital that the new legislation puts an end to those biofuels that could end up increasing global greenhouse gas emissions instead of reducing them.


David Cameron showed his commitment to tackling global hunger during the UK's presidency of the G8 earlier this year.  Yet nearly a year since the EU 5% cap was first proposed, the UK government has not yet set out its position on either the cap or how to repair the harm done to hungry people by EU biofuels consumption.  Now is the time for the UK government to end the silence and speak up.  As negotiations enter a critical stage time is running out for the UK to influence the outcome.


The ugly reality of biofuels is that it is fuelling higher food prices, forcing poor people off their land and threatening the food security of millions in the developing world. The amount of food consumed as fuel by G8 countries annually could have fed more than 441 million people for a year, more than seven times the population of the UK.


We are calling on the UK government and UK MEPs to end the madness of food being used to fuel cars while one in eight people go to bed hungry.


Yours sincerely,


Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Oxfam GB
John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK
Richard Miller, CEO, ActionAid UK
Andy Atkins, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth


Ends


For more information please contact Georgette Thomas on +44 (0)7824 503108 // gthomas@oxfam.org.uk