Several European ministers are blocking the EU’s proposal to curb the use of conventional biofuels, while some dispute claims the demand for crop-based oils drives deforestation and food insecurity in other parts of the world.

A majority of EU environment ministers expressed concern over the European Commission’s proposed 5% cap on the inclusion of so-called first-generation biofuels in member states’ renewable energy targets, despite evidence that the fuel can have a worse impact on carbon emissions than conventionally extracted oil.

Leading the calls in last week’s environment council for a weakening of the proposals were a bloc of Central European countries that unofficially dispute the claims that without regulation EU demand for fuels from grain crops like wheat or soy would drive higher food prices and encourage land-grabs in countries producing the monoculture feedstocks.

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