Biofuels are becoming an increasingly used form of energy as they generally have lower emissions compared to typical fossil fuels. However, the way in which the biofuels are produced, largely how the crops from which they come are grown, can alter their actual impact on the environment. In order to avoid the use of biofuels that are in fact no better than fossil fuels for this reason, the European Union has once again increased regulations.
The European Union has many concerns regarding biofuels, including that the biofuel crops could come from locations where forests are cleared to grow the crops- a method which would cause environmental damage and biodiversity loss. Crops could also be grown on wetlands or push out food crops in certain regions. Such conditions concern the EU especially as the increased popularity of biofuels may push companies to circumvent environmental standards in order to make a profit.
Biofuels and other renewable energies are expected to comprise ten percent of transportation fuel across the EU by 2020. Now the EU has announced that only five percent of the goal can be accounted for using biofuels attained through food crops. The EU will push for biofuels attained through waste products, algae and even straw.
The EU hopes the new rules will reduce deforestation and other practices that actually add carbon dioxide to the process of biofuels. In addition, concerns have been raised that biofuel production using food crops could cause an increase in food prices and even cause limited access to grains for the poor. However, producers of biofuels have argued that the level of grain used for biofuels is too limited to impact cost or access to grains.