According to recent research, the EU's eco fuel targets have caused ‘serious’ pest problems. A poorly managed drive for crops to be used in transport fuels to meet climate targets has led to European countries importing record levels of palm oil. However, this in turn is linked to rainforest destruction, and pests damaging farmers' livelihoods.
Experts at Rothamsted Research said incentives encouraging EU farmers to grow more plants to be used in fuels, combined with a ban on certain pesticides, essentially created ‘a serious crop pest’.
From 2003, the EU encouraged farmers to grow oil seed rape as part of efforts to meet greenhouse gas targets. The plants are used to make " biofuels " which are used in place of fossil fuels for transport. The policy set out targets for more transport fuels to come from crops and allowed countries to exclude biofuels from excise taxes on fuel. Increase in pesticides Farmers were also encouraged to switch away from the crops they were growing at the time by a change in policy which meant subsidies weren't linked to specific produce. This led to an explosion in oilseed rape, with the area harvested increasing by 78 per cent between 2003 and 2010.
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