Agrofuels and oil palm plantations

The promotion of agrofuels as a form of renewable energy is proving to be one of the European Union’s biggest policy mistakes.

EU agrofuels policies are aggravating climate change. They have become a key driver of forest and biodiversity loss, land-grabs and conflicts, and human rights abuses in producer countries such as Indonesia. Increasingly, agricultural land needed to produce food is being reallocated to grow crops for agrofuels to fuel cars rather than to feed hungry people. [more]

DTE Letter to European Commission, 16th October 2012


Dear President Barroso,

Down to Earth (DTE) works with partners internationally to promote climate justice and sustainable livelihoods in Indonesia. We are deeply concerned to learn that the Commission’s potentially good amendments to flawed EU agrofuels policy could be weakened due to pressure from the industrial lobby. 

An open letter signed by over100 NGOs worldwide and sent on April 27th to all European Commissioners in advance of EU discussions on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) on 2nd May.

New research shows ILUC emissions are ‘a serious concern’

New scientific studies, commissioned by the European Commission this year, give clear indications that agrofuels are not the magic solution that policy makers had hoped for and ‘scientific uncertainty’ is no longer a valid excuse for inaction.

According to an Opinion issued by a panel of 19 top European scientists, existing targets for agrofuels and other forms of bioenergy are based on “flawed” carbon accounting and the “potential consequences …are immense”.[1]

In 2010, the agrofuels debate centred on growing evidence showing that iLUC could significantly reduce greenhouse gas saving potential of agrofuels, when compared with fossil fuels.

In January 2011, DTE published an update on the European Union’s (EU) policy developments regarding Renewable Energy Directive (RED) (2009/28/EC) and the Fuel Quality Directive.

Nuffield Council calls for ‘ethical suitability’ for agrofuels

See also DTE agrofuels update, July 2011

Pressure on European Union Member Stat