Britain slows the introduction of biofuels

At G8 summit Gordon Brown quotes a report by the Renewable Fuels Agency

Among the topics being discussed at the G8 summit in Japan there stands out the one concerning the increase in food prices, an issue that strongly influences the poorest countries in the world. On the first day of the summit Prime Minister Gordon Brown illustrated his government’s policy about one of the culprits: biofuels, already responsible for contributing to global warming due to deforestation.

On the basis of a report commissioned by Ed Gallagher, chairman of the Renewable Fuels Agency, as far as biofuel sustainability is concerned, the government will adopt a more cautious approach until more evidence is available about biofuels' long-term environmental and social impact. Anyway, UK will go on using biofuels, as Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said.

The current target in Britain is that 2.5 percent of fuel supplied for road transport should be from renewable sources, rising to 5 percent in 2010/11, at an increase rate of 1.25 percent a year. Being cautious should act as an annual 0.5 percent check, bound to rise to 5.0 percent in 2013/14.

According to the dossier, if, at that time, biofuel production proves to be sustainable, for example through the use of waste or idle land, it will be worth expanding it . “A new research over the last 12 months has identified that land use change causes significant greenhouse gas emissions, sufficient in many cases to overcome the savings from biofuels for several years," said Gallagher .

The government decision is satisfactory for the environmentalists who harshly criticized the European Union's proposal to get 10 percent of road transport fuels from renewable sources, such as biofuels, by 2020; on the other hand the investors are discouraged and, according to Clare Wenner, head of the Renewable Energy Association, they are very likely to move abroad. The curb on biofuels' policies will prevent 10.7 million Indian people from dropping below the poverty line.

Following the criticism of activists on the biofuels’ role in the food crisis, Gordon Brown will present the G8 representatives the proposal for the establishment of an international organization concerned with food security, that might contribute to a common definition of sustainable biofuels.

Autore: GIUSEPPE GANDOLFI

 

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