As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pushes for an increase in the volume requirements of bio-based diesels in our fuel supply as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, The European Union has announced plans to do the exact opposite.

In a move sure to gain the appreciation of at least some hunger activists, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger announced that The European Commission will be limiting crop-based biofuels to just 5 percent of transport fuel until at least the year 2020. Activists have been railing against the use of crops and other food sources for fuel as millions go hungry around the world.

“Finally the European commissioners have come to their senses,” said Clare Coffey, policy adviser at ActionAid. “They are firmly acknowledging that using precious food and agricultural land to fuel our cars is bad for people and bad for the environment. In a world where a billion go to bed hungry every night, that is immoral.”

While the limits will be put in place for crop-based fuels once passed by EU governments and lawmakers, development of other biofuels will move forward towards a goal of having at least 10 percent of the fuel mix be from renewable sources by 2020. According to a statement by Oettinger at a recent meeting of EU energy ministers, the difficulty in that will be finding sources that are as cheap to produce as crop-based ones currently used.

The United Nation’s food agency recently called for the U.S. to change its policies on crop-based biofuels because of the danger of a worldwide food crisis, but it seems the European Union is the only one taking that advice to heart. “We cannot continue to burn food in our petrol tanks while poor families go hungry,” said Natalia Alonso from Oxfam. Truer words aren’t spoken too often and we definitely need to speed up the development and production of non-food-based biofuel sources.

[via The Guardian]

Image Credit: Frapestaartje/Flickr