Friday, April 4, 2008

Resistance to Biofuels in the United Kingdom and EU

The prime minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown will soon clash with the European Union (EU) over a 2003 EU directive requiring that 5.75% of petrol and diesel come from renewable resources by 2020. The EU even plans to raise this quota to 10% renewables by 2020. Brown feels a better assessment of the life cycle of these biofuels and their sources is necessary before implementing these quotas.

Concerns over these standards stem from the scientific community, which recently has questioned whether biofuels production is beneficial to preventing climate change. Increased deforestation, to clear land for biofuel production such as sugar cane production in Brazil or palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia, suggests that biofuels production might actually "exacerbate" climate change according to Professor Bob Watson, of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He believes production of biofuels could be simply shifting the problem, where deforestation is potentially increasing greenhouse gases, while the increase in biofuels quotas across the globe is also increasing global food prices. This article addresses biofuels and sustainability as follows:

'John Beddington, the government's current chief scientific adviser, has already expressed scepticism about biofuels. At a speech in Westminster this month he said demand for biofuels from the US had delivered a "major shock" to world agriculture, which was raising food prices globally. "There are real problems with the unsustainability of biofuels," he said, adding that cutting down rainforest to grow the crops was "profoundly stupid".'

European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso denies these allegations that biofuels produced incorrectly could be detrimental to climate change, and fully intends are increasing the biofuels standard to 10% by 2020. The nations of the EU plan to be cautious before impulsively increasing the standard.

1 comment:

David Wogan said...

Did you see the U.N.'s recent discussion of biofuels?

Ban Ki-moon on biofuels