BRUSSELS, Belgium – Members of the European Parliament agreed to support a move by the European Commission to limit food-based biofuels to 5 percent of transport fuel, meaning another 5 percent will have to come from non-food sources, such as waste or residue feedstock.
"The current situation where biofuels compete with typical agricultural food production causes increases in food prices, hence it should not continue," said Polish Christian-Democrat Jaros?aw Kalinowski, a member of the EU's agriculture committee.
German Social-Democrat Jo Leinen, from the environment committee, also welcomed the Commission's move, saying that sustainability criteria for biofuels should include environmental and social effects. But he added that the EU should not go from one extreme to another.
"As our 10 percent goal is still in place, there will be demand for biofuels in Europe in the coming years," said Leinen, adding that more research and investment in more sustainable second and third-generation biofuels is needed.
However biofuel producers fear that the changes will hurt the newly developed industry and cost thousands of jobs.
Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout, a member of the agriculture and environments committees, said, biofuel companies could have prepared for a limit on food-based biofuels because various stakeholders were raising alarms since 2009 about the indirect impact on land use.