Every week there seems to be a new report on the potential downsides of biofuels.
This week it is the turn of British MPs. UK and European governments should not have pursued targets to increase the use of biofuels without putting in place “robust” measures to prevent environmental damage, the MPs are warning.
The Commons environmental audit committee said that while it recognised that some biofuels are sustainable and could be used to reduce emissions from transport, the absence of robust sustainability standards and mechanisms to prevent damaging land use could lead to environmental damage in the UK and the loss of crucial rainforests around the world.
In its report, Are Biofuels Sustainable? the committee urged the government to ensure that its biofuels policy balanced greenhouse gas emission cuts with wider environmental impacts, “so that biofuels are only used where they contribute to sustainable emissions reductions”.
“Without this reassessment biofuels could lead to a range of environmental impacts including water pollution and biodiversity loss. In addition the absence of international mechanisms to protect rainforests means that biofuels will add further to the already significant pressures to cut them down to make way for palm oil plantations,” the report reads.
“On the basis of current biofuel technology, more greenhouse gas cuts could be achieved at lower cost and risk by implementing a range of other policies.”
But still the biofuel revolution continues apace.