UK Biofuels Target Should Be Reduced to Protect Tropical Forests: Government Climate Advisors

oil palm harvesting photo

There's a growing body of evidence that land-use conversion in the tropics, driven in part by biofuels, negates many of their benefits. Photo: Craig Morey via flickr.

The UK government's own climate advisors have recommended that current biofuel targets for transport of 10% by 2020 are too high, given concerns about their impact on tropical forests. Currently the nation gets about 2.5% of its transport fuel from biofuels, and recent study has shown that most of this does not meet sustainability criteria.Reuters reports that the committee, commissioned by the Energy and Climate Minister, says an 8% target instead.

Furthermore, the committee recommended reducing the target for 12% renewable fuels for heating to 11%--an increase from current levels of 1.6%--and supported the overall renewable energy goals of the nation, saying that any shortfalls from these reduced fuel-specific targets could be made up with energy efficiency.

All in all, from the wholesale wild enthusiasm for biofuels experience a few years ago, it's good to see that there's a growing realization that simply replacing fossil fuels with those made from plants isn't necessarily a sustainable option, if it just causes environmental harm elsewhere.

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More on Biofuels:
Biofuels Falling Well Short of Green Standards in UK
Biofuels Cannot Be Called Sustainable in UK Advert: Board Upholds George Monbiot's Complaint
Half a Million Virtual Cars Added to UK Roads by Bad Biofuel Policy

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