Biofuels and food crops


Sir, – Eamonn Meehan of Trócaire (Opinion, December 20th) outlines the rethink about the wisdom of the EU having determined in 2009 that 10 per cent of transport fuel would effectively come from biofuels.

The Lithuanian presidency attached a high priority to getting agreement at the Council of Energy Ministers on December 12th to reduce the biofuels target to 7 per cent. Ireland supported this compromise, but the proposal was defeated. Trócaire wanted a reduction to 5 per cent, a proposal supported by only four member states.

Mr Meehan criticises the Irish vote and argues that “each percentage point reduction would amount to millions of acres being handed back to food production”.

I find it difficult to reconcile that statement with his criticism of the Irish vote. Surely it was better to reduce the target to 7 per cent than defeat that compromise and allow the original target of 10 per cent stand for the foreseeable future? The 10 per cent target will now remain in place, whereas if one of the member states advocating a 5 per cent target had voted for the 7 per cent compromise then “millions of acres would have been handed back to food production”. – Yours, etc,


Minister for

Communications, Energy &

Natural Resources,

Adelaide Road,

Dublin 2.