Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-058"

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". Mr President, I am delighted to be able to present my report on biofuels. It is an own-initiative report from the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. It is great to see the Commissioner here and I would like to thank her and her staff for the help they have given me while compiling this report. The exciting thing about biofuels, biomass and biogas is that there is a great future for it. When you hear the President of the United States say during the State of the Union Address that the American economy can no longer be an oil-based mineral economy, then it shows that things are changing, and here in Europe we have great possibilities. Historically, farmers have always provided fuel for transport back in the days of horses, so what is the problem now with supplying fuel? With the new payments for agriculture, the new reforms of the CAP, the decoupled payment and the single farm payment breaking the link between production and subsidy, we also need to find new markets for our products and that is where, as I said, cereals and oil seed rape for bio-diesel and wheat for bioethanol come into play. We can also be sure that we can create more biomass. In many countries of Europe you actually see that there are forests being used effectively. Where there are no forests, then we can grow willows and miscanthus to make sure that we can produce energy supply. Some of these can be big projects used for power stations, others can be small projects for local heating plants and for schools and hospitals. There can be a lot of flexibility. When it comes to not only fuel but energy as a whole, biofuel and bioenergy may not be the total answer, but it is one of the answers. Where, for instance, Russia could possibly turn off our gas supply at any time, I think we have to look to alternatives. The one thing we must always emphasise with all this is that these types of fuels and biomass are very environmentally friendly. That is the great thing: not only is it good for farmers, but it is good for the environment. We have the present generation of fuels and biomass available, but we are also seeing new generations coming on and we will see bioplastics coming into place. I think there is a big future for that. We have seen a new process of making paper from straw, again using much more environmentally friendly chemicals. Out of a ton of straw you can create half a ton of paper pulp and a quarter of a ton of bioethanol. So it shows, as I said, that we are moving forward with all these projects. To mention the common agricultural policy, we have set-aside land on which we are growing nothing. Some set-aside land is very effective for environmental enhancement, but I think we should look very positively at using other set-aside land for fuel. On biofuel, Volkswagen in Germany has been very sympathetic to mixing fuels and creating engines that will support biofuels, but we need to put pressure on the car companies to be much more sympathetic to this. I also think we need to mix fuels much more in order to get a quality of fuel that is good for motor engines. Another point about putting land into production for biofuels and biomass, is that it keeps that land in production, so that in the future if we were to need it for food supply, then that it is in production and we could switch it back to food. This is a very great bonus. Finally, I would like to thank all the Members of the Committee on Agriculture and of Parliament for their support. I have visited many countries to see what is going on. We have an exciting time in front of us. Commissioner, I think now is the time for Parliament and the Commission, along with Member States, to really pull together to establish the tax incentives and get everything in place so that we can deliver a very good biofuel/biomass policy for Europe."@en1

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