Biofuel plans under attack

  • UK MPs warn of dangers
  • EU says production is more expensive
  • European-wide biofuel targets about to be set
Plans to reduce emissions from cars using biofuels have been dealt a severe blow, after British MPs and the European Union officials warned they could do the planet more harm than good.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has issued a report entitled 'Are Biofuels Sustainable?', which says that pushing for increased use of biofuel is reckless.

The report states that growing specific biofuel crops could damage the economies of developing countries and lead to deforestation.

The amount of energy required to turn crops into biofuels in the UK is also highlighted as an area of concern, because it means greenhouse gas emissions are barely reduced.

As an alternative, the committee is pushing for more investment in second-generation biofuels such as wood and waste products, which can be produced from non-crop land.

In addition, the EU's Joint Research Centre is reported to be preparing a document that will outline the potential impacts of increased biofuel use, highlighting the fact it may lead to substantially increased fuel costs.

The UK Government is already committed to ensuring that 5% of fuel sold on forecourts is biofuel by 2010.

Meanwhile, the EU is set to announce next week that it wants its 27 member states to agree a deal to use biofuels for 10% of all transport fuel by 2020.

That target is part of a plan to reduce greenhouse emissions by 20% from 1990 levels.

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