The Dangers Posed By Biofuels
An update on the use of biofuels in the EU, and alternative strategies to reduce the greenhouse emissions.
According to BirdLife International, unsustainable production of biofuels could result in more environmental degradation than that caused by the current conventional fuels being used. They say that for the ongoing implementation of biofuels to replace the currently used fossil fuels to be successful there must be environmental safeguards implemented.
BirdLife International, European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Transport and Environment (T&E) set up a conference discussing the sustainable use of biofuels. The three organisations made the decision that sustainable safeguards must be implemented in order for the project to proceed. Without the implementation of safeguards the savings of greenhouse gases would be small and result in further harm to biodiversity.
This may lead to the public rejecting the ongoing process of biofuel production. Biofuels will then be not be considered as a creditable alternative to fossil fuels. The current target for the European Union (EU) is to replace 5.75% of fossil fuels with biofuels.
To achieve this 14-27 percent of EU agricultural land would have to shift to biofuel production and oilseed production would have to be doubled. As this target cannot be met, further imports of palm oil and sugar cane would result, with consequent environmental damage.
The production of biofuels is already affecting European wildlife. The unmanaged conversion of land into biofuels production has caused the little bustard in France and the red kite in Germany to become endangered. According to Ariel Brunner from BirdLife, Europe must act now. "The problems get even more serious when we consider the prospect of imports that are produced at the expense of tropical rainforests."
John Hontelez, EEB secretary general, added, "We must urgently reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. But we must tackle climate change and biodiversity loss in tandem. Biofuels are only part of the solution. Unless we produce biofuels sustainably, we'll end up with more energy-intensive and environmentally damaging farming practices and hasten the degradation of our ecosystems."
Third Generation Biofuels To Dispel Fossil Fuel Usage
Due to the criticism surrounding the dangers of biofuels and the stoke inflation, energy ministers of the EU agreed that the production of biofuels produced from food crops should be limited to 7 percent.
Prior to the agreement, the EU supported biofuels to contribute to efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, studies proved that producing these biofuels that are made from crops such as maize would displace other crops and food prices would inflate. The alternative for biofuels that are produced from crops is to invest in biofuels that are made from waste and algae - known as the third generation biofuels.
The EU based its policies around the advice from the Joint Research Centre, but ignored the warning that the bloc's biofuels policy made a contribution to the deforestation of Malaysian and Indonesian peatlands.
The European Union has committed itself to a resource efficient and low carbon economy by 2050. This will include the major growth of renewable energy generation and a substantial phasing out of coal. Progress have already been made but to achieve its objective by 2050, the EU has to drastically speed up the process.
Currently in some EU nations, subsidies are used to aid certain renewable energy schemes, including solar or wind power. High consumer prices is how they capitalize these subsidies.