Biofuels in food crisis. EU lawmakers fail to prioritise food over fuels in midst of global hunger crisis. Oxfam and Transport & Environment critical of the European Parliament for failing to phase out the use of biofuels which are fuelling the global food crisis.
The European Parliament rejected the opportunity to change the EU’s fuels law (Renewable Energy Directive) that could have ended the use of food crops in biofuels.
Oxfam and Transport & Environment have labelled the vote a missed opportunity to ease pressure on the global food crisis.
No majority could be found for either the Left’s proposal to end support for all crop biofuels, nor the Greens and Socialists & Democrats’ (S&D) proposals for reduction or specific restrictions on crop biofuels during times of food crises.
This means that the current rules on biofuels remain in place. Europe will continue to burn the equivalent of 15 million loaves of bread and 19 million bottles of sunflower and rapeseed oil every day to fuel its cars and trucks.
Food prices, already high, skyrocketed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Record droughts across Europe and other parts of the world will only add to the crisis. This is pushing millions more people to the brink of starvation and many more into severe food poverty.
Marc-Olivier Herman, Economic Justice Expert at Oxfam: “The outcome of today’s vote is deadly for the hundreds of millions of people who are staring straight into the jaws of hunger. Ending the burning of food for fuel is a step to fight the menacing global food crisis. Already this week, news broke of an imminent famine in Somalia. Meanwhile, European Parliamentarians are choosing to put the interests of the powerful and greedy biofuel lobby before the millions of people around the world who are struggling to find their next meal.”
Maik Marahrens, Senior Campaigner at T&E, said: “The European Parliament missed a historic chance to stand up for the most vulnerable. If Europe alone were to release the grain it burns for biofuels to the global market, we could feed millions of people. Europe’s lawmakers have failed to put right one of Europe’s most destructive climate policies.”
However, there were some positive outcomes, says T&E. MEPs voted for soy and palm oil – major contributors to deforestation – to be phased out in 2023 in good news for biodiversity and local communities. But without a reduction in the limit on food and feed crops, there is a high risk that soy and palm will be replaced by other food crops.