Biofuel -also known as agrofuel- is one of those ideas that seemed great at first. Bio-diesel from soy oil or palm oil, and bio-ethanol from sugar cane, beet, wheat and corn sounded like good alternatives to the fossil fuels we use for transport and electricity generation.
But since we first starting hearing about biofuels, their drawbacks have become clear. In 2011, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics reported that:
“current UK and European policies encourage unethical practices”.
The EU Climate Commissioner says EU policy that requires European transport fuel to include 10% sourced from biofuels is out of date, based on now-discredited information. Using biofuels for transport is likely to damage people living in the South, where biofuel crops compete for land with food production, forcing up food prices and depriving people of access to land for farming.
Using biofuels in transport will also increase carbon emissions, not reduce them. The report says that it would be better for people and the environment to spend the money that would have been spent on biofuels, on improving public transport, making cars cleaner and making it easier and safer to cycle.
I have just sent an email from Biofuelwatch’s website to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, calling on them to ensure that subsidies for renewable electricity must go towards genuinely renewable and sustainable energy, not destructive biofuels and biomass electricity! To find out more, please go to http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2011/rocs-alerts/