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09 Nov 2010 12:11:23

Biofuels 'will cause significant damage to climate'

Biofuels 'will cause significant damage to climate'
Biofuels are likely to cause greater damage to the environment in the future than fossil fuels, a new report suggests.

Supported by a range of organisations, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Europe, the study suggested that, by the year 2020, biofuels will support around nine percent of transport energy.

In order to provide enough crops for this to be possible, an area more than twice the size of Belgium is likely to be affected by the conversion of forests and grasslands into cultivated fields.

The report suggested that, in fact, by the time biofuels reach the European market, and the impact of land use is taken into account, they could be "81 percent to 167 percent worse for the climate than fossil fuels".

It went on to call upon the European Union (EU) and its member countries to review its policies with regard to biofuels. The EU must also support proposals which count "the full climate impact of biofuels".

"The EU must only accept biofuels that demonstrably reduce GHG emissions, pose no significant land use issues, do not threaten people's food security, and do not risk conservation conflicts," the report concluded.

Over in the US, the government is currently supporting the development of biofuels, by providing up to a 75 percent subsidy for farmers growing suitable crops.  ADNFCR-1235-ID-800224737-ADNFCR

Discussion Thread  

10 Nov 2010

i invite anybody to visit my country, Brazil, and see our progress with sugarcane. the final energy and mass balance is very strongly posit for biocombustibles.

12 Nov 2010

What report? References? Links?!

12 Nov 2010

What report? References? Links?!

Wastetech wrote:

19 Nov 2010

This is always the problem - not enough research is undertaken into the problems caused before the solution is determined.

Jwilcox wrote:

23 Nov 2010

Thats only if the EU uses biofuels produced by the large scale agro bussiness. If you look into Rudolf Diesel you will quickly find the intent was to create a bio engine that would help support what we would call the working man, a small scale agricultural producer.

27 Nov 2010

Frederico Nadal Draetta: If agriculture is doing so well in Brazil, have they stopped cutting down jungle to make farmland yet, and started restoring the farmland that had become unusable due to unsustainable farming techniques?

03 Dec 2010

What assumptions have been made in making these calculations? Is it based on the crops to biofuels issue, or does it go wider to consider converting biomass as a whole, with waste streams and the cultivation and growth of algae? Are the statistics cherry picked? Is this because the green lobby, particularly the most radical and ideologically driven have a hidden agenda? If so, is this agenda to restricting people freedom, one of the biggest icons being car ownership and travel? Or does it go wider, towards the wider system of capitalism? This does make me skeptical.

I do agree that biofuels using sources that require deforestation and diversion of crops from food supply is a big no-no. But biofuels are advancing, and so are other alternatives to hydrocarbon liquid fuels, including the potential to abstract CO2 and convert it into synthetic hydrocarbons which could simply 'drop-in' to vehicles that we use today. Yet progress has been stifled and cynically, I suggest that if our government relies on fuel duty and other motoring taxes for revenue which have been raised many times on "environmental" grounds, I very much doubt that they will be in a hurry to ramp up a transition to sustainable biofuels.

Discussion Thread  


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