Biofuel Industry Split Over Environmental Impacts

Reuters reports that a rift in the European biofuel production industry is emerging, with some producers calling on European Union (EU) policy-makers to regulate the indirect land use changes (ILUC) and negative environmental impacts associated with the expanding production of biofuel. Bioethanol industry body ePURE has reportedly written to EU climate and energy officials, calling for a policy that “penalizes crop-specific biofuels for their indirect side-effects”.

Reportedly, ILUC occurs when food crops are diverted to biofuel production, requiring rainforests to be cleared or peat land to be drained in order to create more arable land for food production. The effect of ILUC can consequently create as many emissions as it saves by reducing “carbon sinks” which absorb harmful emissions. Reportedly, biodiesel produced from European rapeseed, Asian palm oil and South American soy beans have a greater climate impact than diesel fuel, whilst bioethanol produced from corn, wheat and sugarcane produces comparatively fewer emissions. According to Reuters, EU policy makers are considering how to address ILUC as part of its target to increase biofuel use to 10% of all European road fuels by 2020.
Reuters: Industry split emerges over biofuels’ indirect impact (5 October 2011)
(Source: Reuters)