Tuesday, March 25, 2008

UK call to delay biofuels obligation

It was only a matter of time. With commodity prices rising it is finally sinking in that biofuels are not all they were cracked up to be.

Any environmental economist could have told you that replacing oil with crops was going to lead to knock on effects elsewhere. And so it has come to pass. I tend to agree with Professor Watson's comments below.

Even the green groups show good common sense thinking.

Today's FT reports.

Call to delay biofuels obligation [FT]

Ministers came under pressure on Monday to delay a move to force motorists to use biofuels, after the government’s top environment scientist warned that the supposedly green initiative could prove counter-productive.

Robert Watson, chief scientist at the Department for the Environment, on Monday called on ministers to postpone the introduction of the obligation, proposed for April 1, until a government-commissioned review of biofuels’ environmental sustainability had been completed.


Some scientists argue that the carbon benefits of burning biofuels may be outweighed by the environmental factors involved in their production, as well as the impact on food prices.

It would obviously be totally insane if we had a policy to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of biofuels that’s actually leading to an increase in the greenhouse gases from biofuels,” Prof Watson told the BBC.


Greenpeace argued that it would be “incredibly reckless” to press ahead with the policy without knowing its full impact on climate change. Friends of the Earth warned of the “potentially catastrophic impacts on people and the environment” of western countries setting volume targets for biofuel production.


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