From: MNN - 21/08/2008
European Union (EU) leaders called on Friday (20/08/2008) to assess the impacts of using biofuels on soaring food prices.
There was a need to "rapidly assess possible impacts on agricultural products for food and to take action, if necessary, to address shortcomings," EU leaders said in a conclusion after seeking solutions to high food prices at a two-day summit.
With food crops like corn increasingly used for production of biofuels, the cleaner transport fuel has been widely blamed for the present food price hike, which ignited social unrest in some poor African and Asian countries.
"Further assessment should also be made of the environmental and social consequences of the production, and consumption of biofuels, both within the EU and outside," they said.
It was the first time that EU leaders decided to check their ambitious plan of promoting biofuels. They politically agreed one year ago to make biofuels account for 10 percent of EU's fuel consumption by 2020 in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emission and dependence on oil.
"It is important to ensure the sustainability of bio-fuel policies, by setting sustainability criteria for the production of first-generation bio-fuels and by encouraging the development of the second-generation bio-fuels made from by-products," they said.