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MPs say biofuel is unsustainable

Biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but have a negative overall impact on the environment according to a report by the Environmental Audit Committee today.

"Biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transport—but most first generation biofuels have a detrimental impact on the environment overall.

"In addition, most biofuels are often not an effective use of bioenergy resources, in terms either of cutting greenhouse gas emissions or value-for-money," reads the report.

The committee say that clearing large tracts of land to grow biofuels crops, such as sugar cane or rape, could be more damaging than the saving made from reduced greenhouse emissions.

The committee say that the large areas needed to grow crops may have a wider negative impact on the environment, and that this was not considered by the EU when it set its target of 5.75% biofuels on roads by 2010, and 10% by 2020.

The committee propose, "In general biofuels produced from conventional crops should no longer receive support from the Government. Instead the Government should concentrate on the development of more efficient biofuel technologies that might have a sustainable role in the future."

They go on to suggest, "This means implementing a moratorium on current targets until technology improves, robust mechanisms to prevent damaging land use change are developed, and international sustainability standards are agreed."

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