Commissioner for Climate Action
c/o EU Advocacy Office
Rue de la Loi 200
Rue de la Science 4
B-1000 Brussels - Belgium
CC: Jos Delbeke, Director General; Peter Vis, Head of Cabinet; Jürgen Müller, Member of
01 October 2012
Re. Biofuels: new Oxfam report and European Commission proposal to amend
Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)
Dear Commissioner Hedegaard:
Land used to power European cars with biofuels for one year could produce enough wheat
and maize to feed 127 million people. This is one of the startling facts contained in 'The
Hunger Grains', a report on EU biofuels policy published by Oxfam on September 17th.
European support for biofuels comes at a cost to Europeans of several billion Euros a year.
At the same time, Europe’s growing appetite for biofuels is pushing up global food prices and
driving people off their land, resulting in deeper hunger and malnutrition in poor countries.
I am aware that the Commission will soon decide on a proposal to amend the Renewable
Energy Directive (RED) and Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) to address indirect land use change
(ILUC) impacts of biofuels. Oxfam welcomes this and believes it is of the utmost importance
that the proposal that you will adopt achieves a rapid phase-out of the use of biofuels made
from food crops and feedstocks in direct competition with food for land and water. The
proposed 5% cap on first generation biofuels contained in the draft proposal that has become
public is too high, and would maintain an unsustainable pressure on food prices, land and
ecosystems. Moreover, this proposal does not ensure that biofuels used on the European
market will reduce emissions compared to fossil fuels, because it fails to introduce
greenhouse gas accounting for ILUC in the Renewable Energy Directive.
Stichting Oxfam International, registered at The Hague, The Netherlands, No 41159611. Registered office: PO Box 30919 The Hague, The Netherlands.
Registered branch: OI EU Advocacy Office, rue de la Science 4, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Registered No 0840.890.624
We call on you to adopt a legislative proposal on ILUC that will make the EU’s renewable
energy policy sustainable by phasing out the support for biofuels that compete with food
immediately, and by including emissions caused by indirect land use change in greenhouse
gas accounting both under the RED and the FQD.
Attached you will find a copy of our report. We would be happy to answer any questions you
Tel +32 (0)2 234 11 10
Attached: Oxfam Briefing Paper “The Hunger Grains”