The EU has issued a stinging rebuke to a UK report that claims biofuels could damage the environment.

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the European Commission “strongly disagrees” with the claims and said biofuels are delivering “significant greenhouse gas reductions” compared with oil.

Yesterday (21 January), a group of UK politicians said the UK government and the EU should not have set targets on the increased use of biofuels and said their production could damage the environment.

In its report, “Are biofuels sustainable?”, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee also said there is likely to be a link between biofuels and rising food prices – a link so far denied by the European Commission.

The MPs called for a “moratorium” on setting targets for biofuel production and insisted that biofuels are “an expensive and ineffective way” to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transport – but at present most biofuels have a detrimental impact on the environment overall,” said committee chairman Tim Yeo.

“The Government must ensure that its biofuels policy balances greenhouse gas emission cuts with wider environmental impacts, so that biofuels are only used where they contribute to sustainable emissions reductions.”

Piebalgs said the EU is pushing for biofuels production to be more sustainable. “The new [EU] directive for the promotion of renewable energy sources will call for the promotion of only sustainable biofuels,” the Energy Commissioner said.

“Currently biofuels are already traded with no such EU standards or sustainable schemes. The renewables directive will establish such a scheme for the first time in history.”