<b>PETER BRABECK-LETMATHE</b>: Addressing the IISD-organised discussion

“Are biofuels a cure worse than the disease?” This was the provocative but important question posed by Ronald Steenblik, a senior trade analyst for the respected OECD thinktank, who was speaking in a personal capacity at this week’s high level debate on EU subsidies reform chaired by Ms. Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP and chair of GLOBE EU.

Behind Mr Steenblik’s comment is an assessment of biofuel subsidies that I share – namely, that the unintended social and environmental consequences of biofuels far outweigh the benefits claimed by its supporters.

In last week’s blog post I argued that the reason these negative impacts have gone largely ignored is to do with the vested interests and ‘Realpolitik’ that sits behind biofuels. This week’s discussion, organised by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), was an attempt to re-establish a dialogue based on evidence, not presupposition.