what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

Fuel from crops and its contribution to climate change

Continuously soaring oil prices are increasing global demand for agro-fuels, like ethanol or biodiesel produced from crops, which is in turn dramatically turning up the pressure on land use.

The consequences of this are firstly that land previously used to grow food is cleared to grow so-called fuel crops, and secondly that natural grasslands and rainforests, which have an intrinsic carbon storage capacity, are cleared to grow biofuels. This results in less food being available for people and animals and causes a net increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Parliament's report aimed to curb the negative impact on the climate associated linked to indirect land use change (ILUC) caused by agro-fuel production. 


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens do not want policies that turn food crops into fuel. We believe that the EU’s biofuels policy is accelerating climate change and that it has a negative impact on food security and other, social aspects of food production.

Factors linked to indirect land use change must be taken seriously and will have a real impact on the future of the Fuel Quality Directive.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

The Greens managed to ensure that the EU's Fuel Quality Directive will take account of GHG emissions resulting from land use change.

This will help to ensure that the EU does not promote the use of biofuels that clearly have a negative climate impact. It will also steer investors and the fuel industry away from bad biofuels in the medium term.


Which points did the Greens lose?

We are disappointed that Parliament voted in favour of allowing land-based biofuels like food crops to take a 6% share in the overall fuel mix. Using agro-crops to fuel cars has pushed up food prices and increased rainforest destruction.

We did not manage to persuade a majority of MEPs to factor emissions resulting from indirect land use change into the calculation of the greenhouse gas savings limit for biofuels under the EU's Renewables Directive.

This contradictory vote ignores the evidence that Europe's biofuel consumption is contributing to the destruction of tropical rainforests, which only exacerbates climate change. 


Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure


Lead MEP:Corinne Lepage (ALDE)

Green MEP responsible:Bas Eickhout


Staff contact:Terhi Lehtonen(Email), Michel Raquet (Email)