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Biofuels ‘ineffective and expensive’ according to MPs

by David Masters
January 25, 2008

A report published this week by a committee of MPs, ‘Are biofuels sustainable?’, concluded that biofuels are ineffective and expensive when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The report raises concerns about the lack of strict sustainability standards and the absence of any mechanisms to deter the destruction of rainforest in the production of biofuel crops.

The Environmental Audit Committee concluded that the Government and the European Union should not be chasing targets to increase the use of first generation biofuels. Instead, they said that the Government should focus on the use of sustainable biofuels such as waste vegetable oil, and on the development of more efficient second generation biofuel technologies.

Tim Yeo, committee chairman, said, “Biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transport, but at present most biofuels have a detrimental impact on the environment overall.”

European Union leaders, however, dismissed the report, reiterating that biofuels are the only way forward, as no other alternatives to oil are yet competitive.

Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner for the EU, said that while it is imperative that biofuels are produced sustainably, “The Commission strongly disagrees with the conclusion of the report, where it says that the overall environmental effect of existing biofuel policy is negative.

“On the contrary, it is delivering significant greenhouse gas reductions, compared with its alternative, oil.”

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