The European Commission 2008 Directive Proposal on Biofuels (F. Pelsy)


Florent Pelsy


Biofuels, certification, climate change, environmental criteria, European Community, food insecurity, precautionary principle, renewable energy, sustainable development, WTO


This article focuses on the 2008 Directive Proposal of the European Commission on biofuels. The development of biofuels as a renewable energy source has been perceived as a priority by the European Union. Indeed biofuels are approached by the EU as a new ‘win-win’ solution that could both reduce emission of greenhouses gases in the context of climate change and improve energy security while not affecting the European economic growth. The 2008 Directive Proposal of the Commission requires an objective of ten per cent of biofuels in the EU Transport in 2020. In order to qualify within that target biofuels shall be produced according to certain environmental criteria. This article points out the tremendous negative impacts on food security and the environment both in the developed and in the developing world of such a large-scale consumption of biofuels. It then considers that the environmental criteria required by the Directive Proposal of the Commission are not likely to be the adequate response to tackle the negative consequences of the implementation of that ten per cent target. It, thus, suggests the application of the precautionary principle as sketched out by the European Court of Justice in the case Pfizer – Alpharma to that ten per cent target and a moratorium on biofuels at the EU level.


(2008) 4(2) Law, Environment and Development Journal 119


The European Commission 2008 Directive Proposal on Biofuels