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Mar 9, 2010

NGOs take EU Commission to court over biofuels reports

In December 2008, the European Union (EU) passed the Renewable Energy Directive, requiring member states by 2020 to meet 10% of its transportation fuel needs from renewable sources, including biofuels, hydrogen and green electricity.  All biofuels must provide at least 35% carbon emission savings compared to fossil fuels (this rises to 50% as of 2017 and 60% as of 2018).

Many European environmental groups are concerned that biofuels compete with use of agricultural land for food production, resulting in increased costs for food. There are  also concerns that biofuel production increases pressure to expand cultivation in forest and wetlands, leading to deforestation and decreased biodiversity.

On 8 March 2010, four European environmental groups filed a lawsuit in the EU General Court against the European Union Commission.  These groups include ClientEarth, Transport & Environment, the European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife International.  They had requested that under freedom of information laws, the EU produce scientific reports and evidence supporting their decision to favor biofuels.  The EU Commission failed to produce this evidence. 

According to Tim Gabriel, attorney for ClientEarth, "[t]hat the Commission should choose to deny our rights on such a critical issue as the science underpinning our climate policies is astounding."

The current value of the European biofuels business is estimated at approximately five billion euros ($6.8 billion) a year and it provides a large export market for Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia.

For more see: "NGOs take Commission to court over biofuels reports," EurActiv.com, 9 March 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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