The EU Limits Biofuel Production

November 23, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Série thématique : La stratégie de Lisbonne

Biofuels are the product of fermenting crops to produce ethanol, which because it is flammable is then mixed with petrol and used in cars. Growing your own fuel may sound renewable, but science journal Nature, and the European Union Parliament disagree:

  • On the September 10th the EU parliament voted to limit biofuels to 5% of transport fuel by 2020.
  • For ten years the EU has actively encouraged biofuels. The u-turn is recent. The idea was that if you only burned what you had grown, then there shouldn’t be a net increase in CO2
  • However, biofuels are typically grown on land that would otherwise have been used for crops. This means that those crops have to be grown elsewhere.
  • This has lead land-grabs and the displacement of indigenous peoples. From a carbon perspective, it has led to deforestation. So while growing and burning biofuels may in itself be carbon neutral, cutting down forests to do it in isn’t.
  • The UK Parliament has set a target to encourage ‘second generation’ biofuels; fuels made from waste products such as corn stover (what’s left in a field after the corn is harvested)

Read the full story, with links to related content, over here

Source: Nature