Urgent call to fix biofuels policy - sample letter

Contact details used in this sample letter are for UK Ministers. Please go to your country's parliamentary website for contact details of your energy, environment or transport ministers working on biofuels policy.


Rt Hon Edward Davey MP
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Department of Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place



To: Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

CC:  Susan Kramer, Minister of State for Transport


Dear Mr Davey

RE :  Urgent call to fix biofuels policy:  stop the devastating impact on people and environment in Indonesia

The European Union is at a critical cross-roads for setting the future of biofuels policy. Your decisions over the next week will have repercussions on climate change, world food price rises, human rights and deforestation rates across the world.

Currently, almost all biofuels are made from land-based food crops, which come at a high financial, environmental and social cost – none more so than biodiesel produced from oil palm.  As well as putting pressure on food production globally, deforestation for palm oil threatens food sovereignty for up to 40 million local and Indigenous people in Indonesia who depend on forests for hunting, gathering and growing food. Exploitative labour conditions, job insecurity, low wages and child labour are common issues on oil palm plantations. By promoting the expansion of oil palm development in Indonesia, the EU’s biofuels policy is exacerbating these impacts – while costing billions of Euros in industry subsidies every year, paid by the European taxpayer.

I was alarmed to read that the Council’s draft first reading of the biofuels policy amendments, released on 29th November, will further weaken the already compromised text agreed by the European Parliament on 11th September 2013. In particular, I am concerned that the Council wishes to:

  1. Increase the share of food-based biofuels from 5%-7%. This will allow an increase of up to 50% in the demand for food-based biofuels - creating further competition for food, risking global food crises and loss of food sovereignty.
  2. Reject robust and uniform accounting for ILUC emissions from biofuels, allowing ILUC factors for reporting purposes only. The scientific consensus shows that emissions from ILUC will exacerbate climate change. Mandatory accounting is the best option currently available to ensure that greenhouse gas impacts of biofuels are addressed.
  3. Change the mandatory 2.5% sub-target for advanced biofuels into a voluntary target. This will weaken the incentive for investment in advanced biofuels, and for the industry to move away from damaging, first generation biofuels.
  4.  Allow some advanced biofuels to be counted two times towards the overall renewable energy target. This would dilute the 20% renewable energy target for Europe and significantly undermine the level of ambition in the non-transport sectors.

I urge you to reconsider your position and provide leadership to encourage fellow Member States to strengthen the draft first reading by:

  1. Setting the cap on all land-based biofuels to current consumption levels (maximum 5%).
  2. Introducing mandatory ILUC accounting in the RED and FQD without delay, to ensure all carbon emissions from biofuels are taken into account
  3. Ensuring that 2.5% sub-target for advanced biofuels is mandatory
  4. Reconsidering your proposal to apply a multiplication factor for advanced biofuels to the 20% target and ensuring this applies only to the 10% transport fuel target
  5. I also urge you to ensure that biofuels from waste and residues comply with the principles of waste hierarchy and cascading use, and with sustainable land management practices.

These are the absolute minimum changes required to limit the most severe impacts of the policy and must be implemented immediately.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature and name]