By Martin Banks - 2nd February 2012
Europe must scrap its biofuel targets and subsidies and replace them with more cost-effective policies that actually reduce emissions from transport and don't wreck the environment
A new report predicts that motorists across Europe are set to pay an additional €18bn a year for petrol and diesel as a result of EU biofuel targets that "have been shown not to reduce emissions".
The report shows that the planned increase in biofuel use could cost European consumers an extra €94 to €126bn between now and 2020.
This is despite evidence that biofuels will actually make climate change worse and increase global hunger, says the report, authored by Brussels-based NGOs.
The report says that demand for biofuels is pushing up global food prices, and driving millions of poor people off their land and into hunger.
At least 37 million hectares of land has already been grabbed globally to produce biofuels with Africa hardest hit with 60 per cent of land grabs for biofuel crops, depriving local communities of land and water essential for growing food.
Robbie Blake, biofuels campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said, "Europe's squeezed consumers and taxpayers are paying the price for a flawed green policy that delivers no environmental benefits.
"Motorists and the environment will bear the brunt of these ill-conceived biofuel targets – with higher prices at the pump and higher CO2 emissions.
"Europe must scrap its biofuel targets and subsidies and replace them with more cost-effective policies that actually reduce emissions from transport and don't wreck the environment."
Laura Sullivan, ActionAid's European policy and campaigns manager, said, "Biofuels are an expensive climate con. EU biofuels targets are not reducing emissions but are pushing up global food prices and driving more people into hunger.
"EU decision-makers must withdraw targets and subsidies for biofuels and invest in genuine solutions to cut carbon."
She added, "Biofuels have been promoted as a 'green' alternative to climate-damaging fossil fuels, but studies for the European commission confirm that that the EU's projected use of biofuels could actually increase emissions – particularly where countries rely on biodiesel from palm oil, soy and rapeseed."