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Oxfam reaction to proposal to change EU biofuels policy

11th Sep 2012


Today news agency Reuters released details about a leaked legislative proposal from the European Commission recommending limits on the use of crop-based biofuels. The proposal is contained in long-awaited EU plans to address the indirect land use change (ILUC) impact of biofuels.

In response to the leaked draft, which is now being negotiated between all departments of the European Commission, Marc Olivier Herman, Oxfam's EU biofuels expert, said:

"It is excellent news that the European Commission finally realises that EU biofuels mandates are causing huge problems, including surging food prices, worsening hunger and accelerating climate change. However the proposed 5% cap on first generation biofuels by 2020 won't help to put the brakes on the current spike on food prices. EU biofuels mandates must be scrapped altogether now.

"EU governments and the European Commission must resist the backlash from industry and farming lobbies that have grown fat on the massive subsidies and tax exemptions as a result of this crazy biofuels policy, while poor people go hungry and consumers' money get wasted."

"EU Energy Ministers meeting on Monday to discuss Europe's post 2020 renewable energy strategy must rule out any support for biofuels which competes with food."

More more information contact:  Tricia O'Rourke on 01865 472498, 07989 965359 or

Notes to Editors

*** Soy and maize prices were at all-time highs in July (World Bank) and prices of cereals and oil remained at peak levels in August (FAO).

*** Next Monday, Oxfam will be launching a new report (The Hunger Grains) on the impact of EU biofuels policy on food prices and poor people's access to food and land. Embargoed copies of the report are available upon request.

*** Oxfam calls on EU governments to scrap biofuels mandates immediately. Technically, so that they are not in contravention of EU law, this means that the EU 2020 target for 10% renewable energy in transport must also be scrapped when it comes up for review in 2014. At the moment, EU governments are also discussing 2030 targets for renewable energy - it is crucial that no new target is set for renewable energy in transport as this is likely to be met almost entirely using biofuels.