Biofuels Not So Enviro-Friendly

Nicolas Loris /

Switching from fossil fuels to allegedly cleaner fuels may not be as good for the environment as advertised says the United Kingdom’s Times. Similar to the renewable fuels mandate in the United States, the UK has a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation that requires 3.25% of fuel sold to come from crops – increasing to 13 percent by 2020. A new government study suggests that biofuels may actually be worse for the environment:

The findings show that the Department for Transport’s target for raising the level of biofuel in all fuel sold in Britain will result in millions of acres of forest being logged or burnt down and converted to plantations. The study, likely to force a review of the target, concludes that some of the most commonly-used biofuel crops fail to meet the minimum sustainability standard set by the European Commission.

Under the standard, each litre of biofuel should reduce emissions by at least 35 per cent compared with burning a litre of fossil fuel. Yet the study shows that palm oil increases emissions by 31 per cent because of the carbon released when forest and grassland is turned into plantations. Rape seed and soy also fail to meet the standard.”