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Dear friends and colleagues from NGOs and civil society organisations worldwide,
[with apologies for cross-posting]
We, environmental and development NGOs engaged in the catastrophe that is EU biofuels policy, invite you to join us in signing an open letter to the European Commission (the executive body of the European Union) about the unsustainable impacts of EU biofuels policy. Read the text of the letter below.
Why is it important?
The letter calls as an immediate first step for indirect land use impacts (ILUC) of biofuels to be addressed. This issue is currently being discussed by EU Commissioners, and there is a danger that they will cave in to industry demands to make a weak proposal.
The proposal is about 'indirect land use change' (ILUC) - basically what happens when Europe expands global land use by millions of hectares for our agrofuels: deforestation, conversion of peatlands, land grabs worldwide, and higher CO2 emissions than if we were to stick with burning normal fossil fuels. Science has shown that several types of biofuels make climate change worse. If ILUC 'factors' are taken into account in the carbon footprint, at least biofuels like palm oil, soy and rapeseed would no longer be permitted, and this will also alleviate the pressure on deforestation, peat lands, vulnerable populations, land grabs and food prices.
We would like to gather as many organizations as we can to sign the letter at this critical time.
Why is it urgent?
All EU Commissioners are meeting in early May to discuss what to do. This is the highest political level of the EU, which shows how controversial this proposal is. The industry and big farmers are fiercely lobbying the Commission not to do anything on ILUC. We need to get the voice of civil society in the debate and demonstrate that hundreds of organisations worldwide are waiting for the EU to act on the science on this issue.
Want to read more about ILUC or the political situation? Please see a briefing here.
This is an opportunity for all of us to remind the European Commission about the urgency to tackle climate change effectively and to stop some of the biofuels that we use in Europe harming the most vulnerable populations and make climate change worse. So please join us and sign the letter!
*** HOW TO JOIN? ***
Please send the name of your organisation, the country it is from and your contact details to Lorelei (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Wednesday, 25 April (sorry for the short deadline).
Once you have signed, please help spread the word and encourage your colleagues and partners from other NGOs to join.
Once again, we would like to know as soon as possible if you join the signing as we aim to gather all signatures by Wednesday 25 April (logos or electronic signatures are not necessary, just the name and country of your organisation).
Many thanks for your help!
Sent on behalf of Friends of the Earth Europe, EEB, ActionAid, Birdlife, Oxfam, Greenpeace, WWF EPO, ClientEarth, Transport & Environment
Text of letter:
Biofuels and carbon footprint
Europe’s use of biofuels to fuel its vehicles risks driving land grabs and deforestation, increasing food prices, exacerbating poverty and hunger, and accelerating climate change. We are seriously concerned that the Commission has not yet taken action to ensure that Europe’s green transport policy discourages those biofuels that cause higher greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels .
Scientists have made it clear that urgent action is needed, warning about the high levels of emissions that result from indirect land use change (ILUC). According to the results of the Commission’s own studies, the carbon footprint of biodiesel can be worse than that of fossil fuels once these indirect side-effects are taken into account .
Land that would otherwise be used to feed people and livestock now satisfies the EU’s growing hunger for biofuels. New lands must be ploughed up elsewhere for food and feed, destroying vital ecosystems and carbon stores like forests and peat land, a process that releases millions of tons of emissions and accelerates climate change. This reality undermines the environmental benefits that EU biofuels policy promises.
Without effective policy measures, subsidised biofuels consumed in Europe are highly unlikely to reduce the rising contribution of Europe’s transport sector to global climate change, and threaten to undermine the otherwise positive outcomes of renewable energy and fuel quality policies.
Moreover, increasing the use of biofuels can also squeeze food supplies, amplifying the risk of food crises (and exacerbating land-grabbing conflicts across the world). Industrial biofuels production requires large amounts of land and other natural resources such as water, which should be used to meet the basic needs of local populations, not to sustain extraction of energy for foreign markets.
The Commission is about to meet to decide on its legislative proposal on how to deal with the issue of ILUC. We call on you, as an immediate first step to prevent the use of the most climate-damaging biofuels, to introduce a proposal for feedstock-specific ILUC emission factors when calculating carbon footprints in both the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives.
European Environmental Bureau
Friends of the Earth Europe
Transport & Environment
-- Robbie Blake Agrofuels Campaigner Friends of the Earth Europe Rue d’Edimbourg 26, 1050 Brussels, Belgium Email: email@example.com Tel: (+32) (0)2 893 1017 Skype: robbie.foee http://www.foeeurope.org http://facebook.com/FoEEurope http://twitter.com/foeeurope