Tanzania: EU Defends Itself Against ActionAid Report
Finnigan Wa Simbeye writing for the Tanzanian Daily News reports that the European Union (EU) has dismissed as unfounded a report by ActionAid that accuses the 27-member bloc’s energy policy of fueling hunger and land grabbing in poor countries such as Tanzania.
The EU has instead defended its policy, saying it aims to meet 10 per cent of the bloc’s energy demand from renewable sources — wind and solar — but not exclusively from biofuels as suggested by the ActionAid report titled: Meals Per Gallon (pdf).
The European Commission (EC) said in a statement today while responding to ‘Daily News’ that:
There is a binding target of 10 per cent for renewable energy, not biofuels. This means member states can achieve the target by using different forms of renewable energy — wind, solar and others.
The EC however acknowledged that the bloc will need to import some of its biofuels from the developing world including Africa but spelled out some conditions which exporting companies have to meet.
Biofuels imported to the EU (and also those produced in EU) and counting for the 10 per cent objective have to meet certain sustainability criteria: primary forests, grassland or national parks cannot be converted into land used for biofuels. If land is converted into land used for production of biofuels, the green gas savings must be minimum 35 per cent compared to petrol.
The trouble with the EU’s claim, is that many multinational land deals are carried out behind a veil of secrecy, as discussed in Biomass Intel’s lead story yesterday (see The New Energy Geopolitics: the Biofuel-Land Nexus).