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Labour MEPs: Victory for cautious approach to biofuels

8 July 2008, 9:31am

In a key Environment Committee vote, Labour MEPs secured a crucial amendment to the proposed 10% target for renewable energy in the transport sector - the so-called 'biofuel target'.


A cross-party compromise was negotiated which sets the target at 8-10% by 2020, but half of this target must be met through second generation biofuels, or from electricity or hydrogen from renewable sources.


Following the conclusions of the UK Gallagher report, Labour MEPs urged caution and voted for an 'emergency brake' mechanism, which would halt the target if biofuels cause major increases in food prices.


Linda McAvan MEP, Labour Member of the Environment Committee, said: "There are many different types of biofuels, some 'good', some 'bad'. The EU is leading the world in putting in place strict criteria to ensure only 'good' biofuels, which deliver real emission reductions and don't increase food prices, are used in the EU."


"The Gallagher report has shown that biofuels have the potential to deliver annual greenhouse gas savings of approximately 338-371 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020.  Having a target, underpinned by strict sustainability criteria, is the only real way to control the quality of biofuels being used in the EU.  It will also ensure that the necessary investments are made in the next generation of biofuels:"


Labour MEPs voted for the sustainability criteria to be strengthened and called for only those biofuels which decrease greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45-60% to be allowed. The indirect, as well as the direct, effects on land use should be taken into account. Biofuels which have caused the destruction of rainforests, wetlands or peatlands, or have not adhered to strict social criteria, should also not be allowed.





The proposal for an EU Directive on Renewable Energy will now be voted on by the Industry Committee on the 16th of July, and by the full plenary in September 2007.


For more information please call the European Parliamentary Labour Party Secretary General, Giampi Alhadeff on +44 7809 411 696

European Parliamentary Labour Party, European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, 1047 BRUSSELS, Belgium

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