'Rethink needed' on green fuels

More than 30 million people have been dragged into poverty because of the green fuel policies of rich countries, a charity has claimed.

Oxfam said renewables like biofuels are not solving the climate change crisis but are contributing to the global rise in food prices and hitting poor people the hardest. It called for a "rethink" of the EU's target to meet 10% of transport energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

"It may have once looked like a good idea at the time but clearly now is the time to rethink and drop the target," says Oxfam Ireland official Colin Roche.

"To support a huge increase in biofuels use when we're already seeing the damaging impacts of increased demand would be hugely irresponsible," he added.

Oxfam's report, Another Inconvenient Truth, calls on rich countries to end subsidies and tax breaks for biofuels. Its author, Oxfam's biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey said: "If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead. Thanks to generous subsidies and tax breaks, that is exactly what is happening."

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