Friday, October 12, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Fwd: {Agrofuels EU} RE: Commission ILUC/biofuels proposal due 17 October - but risks being watered down!

Dear friends.

Monday looks to be a crucial day when the European Commission will make its final decision on what to propose in its reform of biofuels and ILUC.

But it has come to our attention that biofuels proposals are being watered down, under immense pressure from the biodiesel industry and Big Ag.

Please see below, our call out for networks and groups to mobilise to send last minute letters, faxes and emails to Commission President Barroso.  As many as possible - all our voices would be so important for them to hear.  There is guidance on what you could use as the main message - for you to adapt as you see fit.

Also, to inform you, Avaaz are launching a public petition.  Please help by sharing this widely:  (hopefully soon to be available in German and French).

Now is the time to show the Commission that they must not cave in to narrow sectional interests in the industry!

Many thanks for all of your efforts! 


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: {Agrofuels EU} RE: Commission ILUC/biofuels proposal due 17 October - but risks being watered down!
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 12:38:49 +0200
From: Robbie Blake <>
Organisation: Friends of the Earth Europe
To: <>, <>, agrofuels-foee List Member <>

Dear campaigners

Further to my email yesterday, there are a few developments.  The debate may be taking a turn for the worse in the Commission, as they come under increasing pressure from the most powerful lobby in Brussels (Copa-Cogeca, the farmers union).  The (half) measures that were in the draft on ILUC, or the 5% cap, could be removed.

The Commission will announce its ILUC/biofuels policy on Wednesday.  But the content is still being decided on!

"A letter from the industry lands on Barroso's desk every few hours" (commission source).  The industry claim that they are being "stabbed in the back" and threaten that 100 000 jobs will be lost.'

Our message about the social and environmental impacts of biofuels is being squeezed out.

Therefore, we Brussels NGOs are asking you to please mobilise urgently again!

Please write directly to Commission President Barroso, to tell him that the proposals on the table are the very minimum citizens should expect, to press him to strengthen the proposal (reduce the 5% cap and introduce full ILUC accounting) - and not to water it down!

A month ago, we asked national groups to mobilise to write letters to each national Commissioner, to tell them that the draft proposals on ILUC and biofuels should not be watered down.

A massive thank you to organisations who have responded by writing to their Commissioner from: the UK, Slovenia, France, Denmark, Romania, Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal!  [please let me know if you wrote to your Commissioner but are not listed here.]

Now, can we please ask you to write to the Commission again?!
  • If you already wrote to your national Commissioner, please can you re-send the letter to President Jose Manuel Barroso?   You may wish to amend the letter to describe the urgency now.
  • If you haven't yet written to your national Commissioner - it's not too late!  Please send a short letter to your nation's Commissioner, plus President Jose Manuel Barroso.

What are the main messages to tell Barroso?:
  • Biofuels policy MUST be corrected - otherwise EU biofuels will continue to push up food prices and volatility in the midst of food crisis; and biofuels with higher GHG emissions than fossil fuels will continue to be sold on the EU market! 

  • The proposals on the table are the bare minimum that citizens should expect, and should be strengthened.

  • Biofuels targets are driving higher food prices and volatility - almost all studies agree.  The EU must not mandate hunger by maintaining biofuels consumption - and should lower the 5% cap on "biofuels from food”.

  • The EU must put in place correct carbon accounting in both directives, according to the best available science.  Nothing less will do.  Failure to introduce this reform will mean that the EU encourages expansion of agricultural land into new frontiers - forests, grasslands, wetlands, community lands - and loses all credibility in its global leadership on climate change. Biofuels policy was put in place not to provide co-products for animal feed(!), but to save greenhouse gas emissions.  Currently it is failing to do this.

  • Do not bow to narrow sectional interests of an industry keen to maintain governmental privileges of a guaranteed market and subsidies.

  • The debate has dragged on too long already.

Where to send it?:
Please email or fax a letter - preferably by MONDAY noon - to:
President Jose-Manuel Barroso - President of the European Commission
tel +32 2 299 15 59
fax +32 2 298 81 60
Cabient members of President Barroso:
Mr Michael KARNITSCHNIG (cabinet member responsible for biofuels policy)
Tel.: +32 (0)2 299 6066

Ms. Catherine Day (Secretary-General of the European Commission)
Tel.: +32 2 2958312
fax: +32 2 2993229

CC your national Commissioner (see contacts in attached table)

Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard
Tel.: +32 2 2983034, Fax: +(32) 2 2988606
And Hedegaard's Cabinet:

Energy Commissioner Gunter Oettinger
Tel: +32 2 2982025, Fax: +32 2 2991827
And Oettinger's Cabinet:

The more letters the better - no matter how brief!

MANY thanks for your help!

Robbie & Nusa and the brussels biofuels team

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Commission ILUC/biofuels proposal due 17 October - but risks being watered down!
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:12:23 +0200
From: Robbie Blake <>
Organisation: Friends of the Earth Europe
To: <>, <>

Dear campaigners,

It seems 17 October is the date scheduled for the announcement of the Commission's proposal on ILUC/biofuels.  The moment we've been waiting for for two years!  The day after World Food Day.

However, we've heard that the content of the proposal is still under debate - and that Barrosso is receiving letters every day from industry warning that this reform will "kill" the biofuel industry.  There is a huge danger that the proposal will get watered down at the last minute.

I will instructions for further actions you could help us take to prevent the proposal getting weakend (ILUC factors out, or the 5% cap reconsidered).

So, expect some momentous activity in the coming days!

Many thanks,


Commission seeks to limit changes in land use

By Dave Keating  -  Today, 05:57 CET

Plan would introduce rankings for biofuel.

The European Commission will next week (17 October) propose a change to European Union law that would rank biofuel based on the indirect land use change (ILUC) caused. The biofuel industry says that such a move would cause the sector to collapse. 

Several EU member states, including Germany and Spain, are likely to oppose the proposal because of concerns about the impact upon their efforts to hit national renewable energy targets for transport.

The Commission's climate action department has been under pressure from environmental campaigners to add the rankings to the fuel-quality directive and the renewable-energy directive. The campaigners are concerned that rising biofuel production is increasing emissions because, directly or indirectly, forests are being cleared to make way for biofuel crops. ILUC refers to any change from the land's previous use.

The EU has set a target of 10% of fuel for transport coming from renewable sources by 2020.

The Commission's energy department is under pressure not to renege on the EU's renewable fuel policy, put in place four years ago, on the grounds that the science on ILUC is not sufficiently advanced to justify building policy around it.

Compromise deal

The two departments have reached a compromise that would see ILUC weightings inserted into the fuel-quality directive but not the renewable-energy directive.

According to a leaked draft, the Commission would set a cap of 5% in the renewable-energy directive on how much ‘first generation' biofuel – thought to cause most land use change – can be used to meet the fuel targets.

The biofuel industry has complained that a cap was not discussed during the stakeholder consultation period and that there has been no proper assessment of how introducing a cap would affect the industry. “We always believed that an ILUC factor was unavoidable, but the cap really came as a shock,” said Rob Vierhout of the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE). “If this proposal goes through, it will be the end of biofuels and that means more fossil fuels.”

Fediol, which represents biodiesel companies, said the limits would result in investors abandoning biofuel. It said that farmers would stop cultivating 15 million tonnes of rapeseed, and the policy would result in €12 billion in losses on investments made in the vegetable oil and protein-meal industries.

Increased research

Campaign groups say that recognising the impact of ILUC will not discourage the use of all types of biofuel, but only the most environmentally damaging ones. They are pushing for more research into ‘second-generation' biofuel, which is not made from crops and does not cause as much land-use change.

In a letter sent to European commissioners after the draft was leaked last month, green groups said the proposal did not go far enough. They want ILUC weightings to be inserted into the renewable-energy directive as well.

--   Robbie Blake  Agrofuels Campaigner    Friends of the Earth Europe  Rue d’Edimbourg 26, 1050 Brussels, Belgium  Email:  Tel: (+32) (0)2 893 1017  Skype: robbie.foee    


--   Robbie Blake  Agrofuels Campaigner    Friends of the Earth Europe  Rue d’Edimbourg 26, 1050 Brussels, Belgium  Email:  Tel: (+32) (0)2 893 1017  Skype: robbie.foee    


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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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