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Gallagher review: biofuels not the answer

by David Masters
July 14, 2008

A government commissioned review on the use of biofuels has found that they could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions, and urges a go-slow approach to their introduction.

The Gallagher review, written and researched by Ed Gallagher, head of the Renewable Fuels Agency, concludes that biofuel production has been a major contributor to increased food prices, and is causing a reduction in biodiversity.

Furthermore, under current government policies, the introduction of biofuels could actually be increasing, rather than decreasing, greenhouse gas emissions.

Current policy does not legislate as to where biofuels are sourced from, and as such rainforests could be cleared for their production.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has promised to review the Government’s current commitment to increasing the use of biofuels.

Current targets are for biofuel use to increase by 1.25% every year; the Gallagher review says that this should be reduced to a maximum of 0.5%.

The review also recommends that the European Union’s target of producing 10% of the continent’s energy from biofuels by 2020 be scrapped.

The government has failed to comment on this recommendation.

Environmental campaigners are frustrated at the report’s lukewarm reception from the government.

A spokesperson for environmental campaign group Greenpeace said the government needs to start taking the lead in promoting ‘real alternatives’ to oil.

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