FW: [Stop biofuel targets] EU biofuels target 'probably a mistake, ' France says
FW: [Stop biofuel targets] EU biofuels target 'probably a mistake, ' France saysAlmuth,
I reckon this one should go in!
Copied you in because I can’t remember how to submit stuff to biofuelwatch!
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From: Veerle Dossche <veerle@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:25:42 +0200
To: Stop Biofuel Targets <stopbiofueltargets@...>, Bio Energy Fern <bioenergy@...>
Subject: [Stop biofuel targets] EU biofuels target 'probably a mistake, ' France says
EU biofuels target 'probably a mistake,' France says
EUObserver.com - LEIGH PHILLIPS
The noose is steadily tightening around the neck of EU biofuels targets,
with France on Monday (30 June) saying that the EU's 10 percent biofuels
target may have to be reconsidered, in the latest attack on the
renewable energy drive.
"Probably we will be obliged to call into question or postpone the 10
percent objective," said French ecology minister Nathalie
Kosciusko-Morizet speaking to reporters in Paris, according to the
Reuters news agency.
She added that developing a target for the controversial fuel source was
"probably a mistake" and that the EU had proposed things the wrong way
round: setting environmental and social criteria for the production of
biofuels should have been developed first and then any target should
have been drafted to match that.
The EU in 2007 agreed that 10 percent of all transport fuel should come
form renewable sources such as biofuels by 2020 as part of a wider
overhaul of its energy sector. "On biofuels, we do not rule out in the
long-run reconsidering the target," Ms Kosciusko-Morizet said.
With France taking over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU on
Tuesday (1 July), the statement carries added weight, and follows on
from a call from Italy earlier in the month for the bloc to review the
"We took with too much haste the decision on an objective that is not
reachable," said Italian economic development minister Claudio Scajola
in early June. The UK as well is expected to shortly adapt its position
on biofuels with the expected release this week of the Gallagher Report,
a review of Britain's biofuels policies.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the working group set up by the European
Commission and EU member states to consider how to develop environmental
and social criteria on biofuel production and imports is close to
agreement on a set of standards.
Quoting the Slovenian diplomat appointed to chair the group's
discussions, Miran Kresal, the news agency says the group is likely to
include language preventing the use of biofuels grown in habitats of
endangered species, or biodiverse savannahs and grasslands, as well as
land whose use has resulted in significant net emissions of carbon dioxide.
Legally binding labour standards were ruled out by the group due to
concerns that such a move would not pass muster with the World Trade
Organisation. Instead, the group will be looking to task the European
Commission with the job of strict monitoring of social standards.
The key concern of environmentalists - the amount of CO2 emitted – who
in the last year have moved from being supporters of biofuels to
campaigning against their use, remains a source of contention within the
working group, however.
*Biofuels and food prices*
The group has not developed any criteria relating to the possible effect
of biofuels on food prices.
While the European Commission has repeatedly argued biofuels policies
have had a negligible impact on food costs, the UN Food and Agriculture
organisation says that biofuels explain 10 percent of recent price rises.
The International Monetary Fund puts this figure at 30, a figure backed
by the International Food Policy Research Institute. The World Bank,
however, says that biofuels have contributed to 65 percent of the price
Dragan Barbutovski, a spokesperson for the Slovenian presidency of the
EU, told EUobserver "The working group was set up long before the food
crisis was high on the EU's agenda."
"As such it only ever had a mandate to assess potential sustainability
criteria for the fuel quality directive and the renewable energy
directive," he added.
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