Biofuels Falling Well Short of Green Standards in UK

UK biodiesel sign photo

photo: Pete Birkinshaw via flickr

Now that we've got some distance from the 'biofuels are going to save us, oh wait they're going to kill everything else' hysteria of a couple years back and some sane skepticism has emerged, how well are we doing? As the BBC reports, in the UK at least it's a mix bag: Volume targets are being met, but some fuel suppliers are falling "well short" of their own green standards.Based on 2009/2010 data the Renewable Fuels Agency says the official government target of 3.25% of sales coming from biofuels has been exceeded, with 3.33% of sales (nearly 1.6 billion tons) coming from renewable fuels. However, the RFA was "disappointed that more companies did not source more fuel that was produced according to a recognized environmental standard."

The goal for 2009/2010 was 50% of biofuels meeting environmental standards, but overall only 33% did so. The RFA notes that 80% of the biofuel feedstock was imported, and most was not subject to meeting a green benchmark.

Land-Use Change Emissions Not Included in Savings
The report notes that emission targets for biofuels have been met, and exceeded--the target was 45% emission savings over fossil fuels, and 51% savings were realized. However (and this is a very important 'however'), that stat is based only off directly measurable savings from fossil fuels and did not take into account emissions from land-use changes occurring directly from growing the biofuel feedstocks.

Read more: BBC News
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