Agrofuels: a new threat

On January 10 2007, the European Commission presented its new energy plans. As for biofuels, a mandatory target (obliged quantity) of 10% is being proposed for the transport sector. In addition, subsidies and tax breaks support the import of agro-energy sources for electricity generation and cooling & heating.

In all its earlier communications and official documents, the European Commission has maintained that the public money needed to support agrofuels and agro-energy would only be justified if their sustainability would somehow be guaranteed. Since then, many initiatives to design criteria for 'sustainable' agrofuels or 'biomass' have sprung up. Nevertheless, the European Commission has now made clear that it cannot or will not create any guarantees for 'sustainability'.

Both the macro-impacts, that cannot be addressed by any set of criteria, and all social and environmental issues are left uncovered. This means the EU is going to again increase its ecological and social footprint, this time even on an environmental and social pretext: agrofuel use would reduce the EU's CO2 emissions, and bring 'money in the pockets of the poor'.

Many Open Letters and statements, both from the North and the South, have been published opposing the EU promotion of agrofuels. They can be found on