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Biofuels

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration she has given to the merits of amending biofuel targets to base them on potential greenhouse gas savings. (206140)

On 21 June 2007 the Government stated that they aim from April 2010 to modify the renewable transport fuel obligation so that biofuels are differentiated according to their greenhouse gas savings. An informal policy paper examining some of the issues relating to this aim was published in October 2007 and is available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/rtfo/secrtfostake/informalpolicypaper.

Subsequent to the June 2007 announcement, the European Commission published in January 2008 a draft renewable energy directive proposing that only biofuels that deliver a 35 per cent. minimum greenhouse gas saving would be eligible for certificates under such schemes as the UK's RTFO. A draft amendment to the fuel quality directive also proposes that transport fuel suppliers be required to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels, which could effectively incentivise those biofuels which deliver a high level of greenhouse gas savings. Negotiations are ongoing on the detail of both of these draft directives, and the Government will continue to discuss with the Commission and other member states how the stated aims to modify the RTFO in 2010 will fit with whatever requirements ultimately emerge from them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely effect on global food prices of the EU’s goal to achieve 10 per cent. biofuels by 2020. (206658)

The Government take very seriously concerns over rising global food prices. A large number of factors, including biofuel demand, maybe contributing to the situation. That is why the Secretary of State for Transport has asked Professor Ed Gallagher, chair of the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA), to lead a review into the indirect effects of biofuels production. The review will closely examine the effects of UK and EU biofuel support policies on global commodity and food prices as well as environmental impacts, and the review will report at the end of June.

Further details are available on the RFA’s website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/reportsandpublications/reviewoftheindirecteffectsofbiofuels.cfm

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also asked the World Bank to look into food markets and the impacts of subsidies in time for the next G7 meeting of world leaders in June.