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NFU slams calls for end to biofuels
CALLS to scrap the biofuels element of the Renewable Energy Directive are staggeringly short-sighted, based on flawed science and demonstrate a failure to address the important issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by transport within Europe, the NFU has said.
Many of the organisations calling for an end to biofuels fail to take into account the huge impact European transportation has on climate change, and the NFU believes that the European Commission (EC) must show strong leadership, with a clear focus on the long-termbenefits to European fuel security and the environment.
NFU chief combinable crops adviser Guy Gagen said: “Incredibly, Oxfam and some green and development NGOs (non-governmental organisations) continue their involvement as interesting bedfellows with OPEC, oil and food multinationals and numerous climate change deniers by joining their chorus for an end to biofuel production.
“We have identified unexplained contradictions in many of these calls, especially when Europe imports around 84 per cent of its crude oil from abroad and the same NGOs demand an end to EU grain exports or drive direct land use change here while ignoring its indirect impact overseas. At a time when fossil fuel costs are high, the cost of increasing our dependency on fuel imports from OPEC and others by removing biofuel mandates would be both financially and environmentally damaging.
“Biofuels represent the only realistic means of reducing Europe’s reliance on imported fuel, and help address GHG emissions in the transport sector. The EC currently estimates that transport is responsible for about a quarter of the EU’s GHG emissions, yet abandoning biofuel production would ensure that dependence on fossil oils continues long into the next decade. The biofuel industry has been helping address the needs of both food and fuel through long-termmarket stability, flexibility of cropping patterns and bio-refining to produce quality, high protein animal feed, for which the European Union has a 20 million tonne deficit each year. The leaked EC proposals, if implemented, could exacerbate the situation of high prices. Removing certainty from the market will send a signal to arable farmers to concentrate on reducing costs, as they did in 2007.”