News / 14 March 2012

Plan Atsma causes more CO2 emission, more food-scarcity and higher gas prices

By 2020, all EU countries must blend 10% of their transport fuels with renewable energy. In practice, these are mostly biofuels. Minister of State Joop Atsma is now trying to reach this percentage by 2016, even though a lot of studies show that biofuels made out of agricultural crops decrease food provision and cause deforestation. Four civil society organisations, including Both ENDS, are asking the Dutch Parliament to try and halt the Minister of State.


An expanding group of scientists, international organisations and companies warn that growing more biofuels will have huge consequences for food production. The current production of palm oil, soy and coleseed is undermining the agricultural land use for food production. Scientists are predicting that the obligatory blending of fuels by 2020 will cause an extra 1,7 ha. seizure of land outside of Europe.


Up until now the Dutch government and business community have always emphasized that our demand for biofuels shouldn't be at the cost of global food provision. The production of biofuels also makes for a bigger demand in agricultural land and therefore large scale deforestation. This causes the emission of so many greenhouse gases, that it exceeds emission caused by fossil fuel production.


These complaints were ground for moderating the growing production of biofuels in the Netherlands. State Secretary Atsma is now trying to make adjustments to this policy. He's not demanding any criteria that prevent biofuels from disturbing the food market, nor is he calling for CO2-reduction. Biofuels are more expensive than fossil fuels so car drivers will pay hundreds of millions more each year at the gas station when fuel blending of 10% is implemented.


Atsma's plan is directed at solving the problem of overcapacity in the biodiesel sector, with minimal interest in sustainability, and also directly against the statement of colleague-Minister Bleker. Bleker stated last year that laying an overly heavy burden on agricultural land to provide in our energy need is unwanted. Atsma's intention also conflicts with the EU guideline that states that certain policies must be revised when biofuel production has a proven negative impact on food prices.


Food rivalry seems no longer to be an issue for the Netherlands, if Atsma's plans get imposed on the biofuel policy. Besides Both ENDS, Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace and Milieudefensie are also calling upon the Minister of State.



Foto van groenlinkseuropa

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