'WeW could feed 380,000 people in Wales with the amount of this food we currently burn in our cars' mep's view.
IN the past few weeks, many constituents have written to me about a very important piece of legislation on which we will soon be voting in the European Parliament: the Fuel Quality Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive.
It deals with indirect land use change and is aimed at curbing the negative impact of biofuel production.
The word "biofuel" covers any kind of fuel that is made from living things, or from the waste that they produce, from straw to animal excrement to sugar cane.
Biofuels can be split into two categories: first-generation and second-generation. First-generation biofuels are the ones that we are currently using, such as bioethanol produced from corn, maize, sugarcane, wheat and sugar beet and biodiesel which are made from palm oil, rapeseed oil, soya bean oil and other vegetable oils.
When they were first developed, biofuels were hailed as a major means of mitigating the effects of climate change. That's ' what everyone thought. However, r first-generation biofuels are not as 'green' as they seem.
To produce first-generation biofuels, a large amount of land is needed to cultivate the crop; and emissions from the change in land use of the area where the "fuel" is grown can be considerable.
In addition, factors such as the use of fertilisers, as well as transporting the crop to the factory and processing the feedstock into biodiesel, are all damaging to the environment. A growing g number of studies show that the continued use of first-generation biofuels destroys wildlife habitats, contributes to deforestation in countries like Indonesia and affects rural communities around the world.
As land becomes increasingly scarce due to demand for more biofuel crops, food prices rise which hits the poorest hardest.
In Wales,a we have all been using biofuels since 2008, when the UK government's' Renewable Transport r Fuels Obligation came into force.
It stated that all petrol sold in the UK has to contain biofuels. With i the current amount of this food we burn in our cars, 380,000 people in Wales a could be fed.
Are we really choosing driving over eating? There is hope for the further development of second-generation biofuels, also known as advanced biofuels, which can be made from non-edible sources and waste matter. r These types of biofuels could help resolve the impact of biofuel on food production, as well as reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Many major companies across the world are developing advanced biofuel refineries.
In July, ay s a member of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, I voted in favour of the Fuel Quality Directive and Renewable Energy Directive (indirect land use change) because it included a 5.5% cap on the use of food-based biofuels, as well as a commitment to using advanced biofuels produced from other sources such as seaweed and waste. The whole Parliament will vote on this Directive in Septemb m er.
To express your views on this, please go to jillevans.net.
| MEP Jill Evans
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Sep 3, 2013|
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