According to a report commissioned by the EC, in 2008, 42 per cent of the crops used for EU biodiesel and 24 per cent of the crops used for EU ethanol were grown outside the EU. Problems with the data mean that the actual level of imports is likely to be higher. Soy, oil palm and sugarcane represent the bulk of the crops used for biofuels grown outside the EU. As the proportion of biofuel in fuel rises, imports will too. Modelling of the impact of meeting 10 per cent of demand for diesel using biodiesel suggests that, by 2020, Europe could require a fifth of all the vegetable oil produced globally just to meet its demand for fuel.
Source: Ecofys, Agra CEAS, Chalmers University, IIASA and Winrock, Biofuels Baseline 2008 (EC Tender No. TREN/D1/458/2009), October 2011
Land used to power European cars with biofuels for one year could produce enough wheat and maize to feed 127 million people.
With the world’s poorest at greater risk of hunger as a result of spiraling food prices, Oxfam is calling on the EU to rethink its dangerous love affair with biofuels.
In a new GROW campaign report, The Hunger Grains, Oxfam warns that Europe’s growing appetite for biofuels is pushing up global food prices and driving people off their land, resulting in deeper hunger and malnutrition in poor countries.