European Parliament votes to cap biofuel production from food and energy crops

The European Parliament passed an amendment on September 11, limiting the amount of transport fuel that can be obtained from food and energy crops to 6% of total energy consumed for transport by 2020.
Although slightly higher than the 5% cap proposed by the European Commission last October, the move deals a heavy blow to EU biofuel producers by effectively preventing them from increasing current output.
In 2009, the European Union (EU) established a target of 10% of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020, with almost all of it to come from “first generation” crop-based fuels, under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). However, there is now concern that the use of fuels from food crops can push up food prices, among others, thus undermining the once booming industry.
The recent vote by the European Parliament, which places new limitations on biofuels from food and energy crops will mean more pressure placed on the development of alternatives, such as electric vehicles.
In July, the Parliament’s environment committee voted in favor of similar limits. Now that the Parliament has agreed, negotiations with the European Council which is composed of leaders from EU countries will take place before the rules are formally adopted.