Fai un Europe's energy chief announced seven green certification schemes for biofuels on Tuesday and promised in future to tackle the unwanted side-effects of turning food into fuel. Guenther Oettinger said biofuels' indirect impacts were dangerous for the planet's carbon balance and food supply.
"It is a real concern ... particularly in the big producing countries, southeast Asia and in South America," Oettinger told reporters. "This is an evolution which we cannot accept."
The European Union agreed three years ago to get 10 percent of its road fuels from biofuels -- at a time when such fuels were widely regarded as good for the environment -- but since then controversy has raged in Europe over the target.
Oettinger took a first step toward limiting biofuels' impact on the environment on Tuesday, launching a green standard to prevent companies from clearing forest, peatlands or grassland to grow biofuels for the European market.
The European biofuel market is expected to grow to about $17 billion a year and is being eyed by European farmers as well as growers of sugarcane in Brazil and palm oil in southeast Asia.