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Fuel Quality Directive should put the burden on the oil industry – not promote agrofuel expansion

Monday, 26th November 2007

Vote ENVI Committee 27th November

To: Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament

Dear MEP, envi-treeThe undersigned organisations welcome the proposed measures in the Fuel Quality Directive to force the fossil fuel industry to clean up and reduce emissions, and to prevent even dirtier fuels from getting to the market. We believe that article 7a is a positive step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. However, these measures must be applied to the fossil fuel industry exclusively without resorting to agrofuels (biofuels). On the basis of the oil industry’s own data we conclude that the proposed targets could be achieved solely by the oil industry through measures such as reducing gas flaring, improving energy efficiency in refineries and investing in co-generation. Major efforts should be made by the oil industry to realise the full potential of these measures. We are concerned by the clear attempts of the oil industry to shift the emphasis of article 7a away from fossil fuels. We urge you to ensure that article 7a is applied solely to fossil fuels. It must not be used as a means to develop a large-scale agrofuel industry. Allowing agrofuels to make up for the fossil fuel industry’s failure to cut emissions creates great uncertainty about the quantity of agrofuel imports necessary to fulfil the target. As it currently stands the proposed Directive could lead to a massive increase in agrofuel use in the EU which raises serious environmental, social and, perversely, climate concerns, particularly in developing countries which may end up having to supply such quantities of fuel. It is becoming clear from recent reports that there is major scientific doubt that agrofuels grown both within Europe or imported from outside Europe save greenhouse gas emissions:

  • August 2007: Nobel prize winner Paul Crutzen and others (see tinyurl.com/2elcyc) suggests that oilseed rape biodiesel can produce up to 70% more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than fossil fuel diesel due to high nitrous oxide emissions from nitrate fertilisers. Oilseed rape comprises 80% of EU home-grown biodiesel.
  • October 30th: Five senior scientists have written to the head of IPCC, Dr R K Pachauri, to highlight „serious and dangerous deficiencies“ in the IPCC AR4 Mitigation book on agrofuel emissions balances. The IPCC did not model the effects of land-use change that can cause carbon emissions that negate any emission „benefits“ for decades or centuries (see tinyurl.com/38r3ks).
  • November 9th: Greenpeace International release „Cooking the Climate“ report on how the Palm Oil industry driven by EU binding target on agrofuels is causing massive climate damage. They indicated that 8% of global emissions could be saved by preventing deforestation, stopping peatland conversion and regenerating degraded peatlands.It is also clear that agrofuels are raising serious concerns about their social and human impacts:
  • October 27th: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, calls agrofuels „a crime against humanity“ because production of agrofuels has helped to push food commodity prices to record levels and would bring more hunger (see tinyurl.com/2rxkrt and tinyurl.com/2zq3kk).
  • November 1st: Oxfam releases a report, „Bio-fuelling Poverty“, arguing that the EU renewable fuel target could be disastrous for poor people.

Bearing these concerns in mind we would urge you to reject article 7b which sets standards for high-ethanol blends. Again, we want to emphasize that we fully support measures to make the fossil fuel industry reduce emissions and make its production cleaner. With this letter, we ask you to therefore support amendments that put the emphasis solely on the oil industry and prevent the expansion of agrofuels. We support calls for a full environmental and social impact assessment of the EU’s agrofuel policies. Yours sincerely, AEFJN Africa-Europe Faith & Justice Network, Brussels Altropico Foundation, Ecuador Asociacion Globalizate, Spain Base Investigaciones Sociales , Paraguay Biofuelwatch, UK Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK Botanischer Verein zu Hamburg e.V., Germany British Russian Eco-cultural Network, UK Catholic Concern for Animals, UK CEPTA – Centre for Sustainable Alternatives, Slovaki Corporate Europe Observatory, Europe Down to Earth, UK Ecologistas en Acción, Spain EcoNexus, UK FIAN International FIAN Netherlands Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland Friends of the Earth, Europe Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) Friends of the Earth, Denmark, (NOAH) Friends of the Earth Bracknell, UK Friends of the Earth, Sahabat Alam Malaysia Genethics Foundation, Netherlands German Branch of the World Wide Network „friends of Peoples close to Nature“ GM Freeze, UK Grupo Reflexión Rural, Europe INKOTA-netzwerk, Germany Kobra e. V. Brasilienkoordination, Germany Kritische Oekologie / ifak e.V., Berlin, Germany National Italian Association „Environment and Labour“, Italy Quaker Concern for Animals in Britain Rettet den Regenwald, Germany robin wood, Germany Salva la Selva, Latinoamérica Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany Sustainable Tuscany –Toscana sostenibile, Italy terre des hommes – Arbeitsgruppe Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany Transnational Institute Trikala, Greece Watch Indonesia!, Germany Xarxa de l’Observatori del Deute en la Globalització, Barcelona, Spain Zoologische Gesellschaft fuer Arten- u. Populationsschutz e. V., Germany

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