The admission coincides with a major study published this week which concludes that biofuels will create an extra 56 million tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of 12 to 26 million cars on Europe’s roads by 2020.
This is because Europe will need to cultivate an area somewhere between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland with biofuels to meet the target, which can only be done through land conversion – and more controversially, deforestation.
There is not enough cultivatable land available to grow them in Europe, so forests in South America and Asia are being destroyed to meet European demand.
Although under European rules biofuels cannot be bought from “new” agricultural lands such as these, biofuel businesses have got around this by buying up existing land. Forests are then cut down to make up for the loss of agriculture – a trick known as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC).
Tim Rice, ActionAid’s biofuels policy advisor, said: “It’s welcome that the Government recognises that greenhouse gas emissions from indirect land use change are significant. But now it must urge the European Commission to make sure that this compelling evidence is factored into new legislation.”
“What our report found was for European member states to meet their recently published plans on biofuels, they would have to cultivate an area somewhere between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland. This is not viable and will result in a big Indirect Land Use Change outside the EU,” he said.
- Biofuel plan will cause rise in carbon emissions (independent.co.uk)
- European Biofuel Plan Destroying The Planet (legalinsurrection.blogspot.com)
- “Study Says That European Plans to Produce Biofuel Could Dump More Emissions” and related posts (aboutmyplanet.com)
- Forced use of biofuels could hit food production, EU warned (guardian.co.uk)
- EU Biofuel Expansion Plans Worse For Environment Than Burning Fossil Fuels, New Report Claims (treehugger.com)
- The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) reports that indirect impacts of European Biofuel Policy will cause more CO2 emissions, not less. (greenfudge.org)
- Biofuel worse for climate than fossil fuel: study (scientificamerican.com)