UK to slow expansion of biofuels

Another good story on BBC News, best news channel out there, everyone is complaining about rising prices, £1.50 for a loaf is crazy, looks like these pesky biofuels are playing a part in the rising prices, go Nuclear i say.

The UK is to slow its adoption of biofuels, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has told the House of Commons. She said that while biofuels had the potential to cut carbon emissions there were "increasing questions" about them. The uncontrolled expansion of biofuels might actually contribute to higher food prices and see the destruction of rainforests, she said.
Ms Kelly said she agreed with the conclusions of the Gallagher report to "amend not abandon" biofuel policies.

Her statement came on the day the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, called for reform of biofuel policies in rich countries, urging them to grow more food instead.
A panel of government experts, chaired by Professor Ed Gallagher, head of the Renewable Fuels Agency, looked at the impact of biofuels on land use.

Poverty fears

The report did not go as far as a damning study from the World Bank last week, which blamed biofuels for a 75% rise in food prices. The review admits we are hurtling towards environmental disaster and should be used to put the brakes on biofuels Mark Avery, RSPB

G8 urged to cut biofuels
But it called for biofuels to be introduced more slowly than planned until controls are in place to prevent higher food prices and land being switched from forests or agriculture to growing fuels.
It fears that current policies could see grain prices in the EU rise by 15%, sugar by 7% and oil seed by 50%, while millions more people in other parts of the world could be pushed into poverty.
The review estimates that an extra 10.7m people in India could find themselves in poverty, while countries such as Kenya, Malawi and Bangladesh could see hundreds of thousands affected by the food price rises caused by biofuels.
Prof Gallagher said the figures did not take into account the impact of climate change on poor people if biofuels were not introduced, or the help they could provide to rural economies or the fluctuating oil price.
His review says biofuel production should be focused on idle and marginal land and the use of so-called second generation biofuels, which use waste parts of plants for energy to avoid land use change and reduce competition with food production.
'Not sustainable'

Greg Archer, co-author of the report, said in the UK, marginal and idle land could include set-aside, and in Eastern Europe, farmland that has fallen into disuse.
If global biofuel targets are met, there would be a 1% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, if it is done in a way that avoids changes to the way land is used.
The EU has a target to source 10% of transport fuel from biofuels by 2020, but this could be overturned by the European Parliament.
Claude Turmes, energy spokesman for the Green Party in the European Parliament, told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "This 10% agro-fuel target is just not sustainable.
"We can't produce this massive amount of agro-fuels, because it will have an impact on the world food prices and it is not the most efficient way to reduce CO2."

Wildlife fears

But Michael Mann, European Commission spokesman on agriculture, said: "We cannot possibly link the European Union's biofuels policies to food prices...
"The main reasons, frankly, is that there's a massive increase [in demand for food], particularly from the main developing economies and there have been terrible harvests."
Mark Avery, conservation director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "The review admits we are hurtling towards environmental disaster and should be used to put the brakes on biofuels.
"If it is not, the destruction of rainforest and grasslands will continue to enable biofuel production. And with that will come huge carbon emissions and widespread losses of wildlife."


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