Analysts fear biofuel increase in EU will harm environment

Tim Wallace
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GREEN policies are pushing up food and energy prices at a dangerous pace, according to a report out today from think tank Chatham House, which argues biofuel use is also harming the environment.

The UK’s five per cent biofuel target will cost motorists £460m this year, while meeting the 10 per cent EU target will cost the UK £1.3bn each year by 2020.

The report also doubts the environmental benefit of using the fuels in transport.

“Biodiesel from vegetable oils is found to be worse for the climate than fossil diesel,” said the report.

“Accounting for emissions from indirect land-use change increases abatement costs for agricultural biofuels to between $330 (£215) and $8,500 per tonne of CO2 depending on the feedstock used.”

And it added that biofuel production is increasingly taking place on newly cleared land including rainforests, again doing environmental harm.

The warning comes weeks after the European Commission urged EU governments to do more to promote the production and use of biofuels in an effort to hit 2020 green energy targets.

It argues “EU expanding bioethanol use has contributed only little to the historical cereal price increases in 2008 to 2010,” claiming other factors are largely to blame. The Commission also believes there are economic benefits to biofuels, including 220,000 jobs in the EU.