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The European Parliament’s somewhat frenzied concern about the possible indirect land use change (ILUC) resulting from EU biofuel policies is a splendid example of the phenomenon of unintended consequences. While acting on the basis of some pretty questionable science, the MEPs are constructing a new form of protectionism which is likely to damage the interests of those who can afford it least. While easing their eco-consciences they are likely seriously to damage the wellbeing of many people in Africa. The ILUC preoccupation has been the major driving force behind the European Commission’s proposal to limit the use of crop-based biofuel to 5 per cent of the EU’s renewable energy quotient (or 5.5 per cent in the Parliament’s view). The Parliament is now pursuing further limitations on biofuel s which it believes will limit ILUC.
The European Commission’s and MEP’s main preoccupations driving this legislative activity are alleged reduction in the planet’s […]

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