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In Major Shift, EU Limits Use of Food-Based Biofuels

Sep 17, 2012
(Reuters)

The European Commission announced a major shift in biofuel policy on Monday, saying it plans to limit crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of transport fuel, after campaigners said existing rules take food out of people's mouths.

Record high global grain prices have intensified calls for changes in EU and U.S. biofuel policies, criticized for snatching away land that should be used for food.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger confirmed in a joint statement on Monday they wanted to cap the use of crop-based fuel.

"It is wrong to believe that we are pushing food-based biofuels," the commissioners said.

"In our upcoming proposal for new legislation, we do exactly the contrary: we limit them to the current consumption level, that is 5 percent up to 2020."

Reuters reported last week the European Commission would seek to impose a limit on the use of crop-based biofuels of 5 percent as part of a target to raise the share of renewable fuel in the transport mix to 10 percent by 2020.

The draft proposals, which are expected to be published in October, will need the approval of EU governments and lawmakers to become law.