Monday, 21 January 2008

Northern Wreck and is Biofuel sustainable

The Labour Party are up to their old tricks today over the Northern Rock financial crisis. Faced with the commercial failure of the bank and some calls for the politically disastrous nationalisation, they went for the third way. Its a bit like nationalisation as the government are still backing the, but other corporations are involved and will be profiting so its 'ok with the city'. Hang on one second Gordo, if taxpayers are still funding this and have all the risk, is it ethical for private corporations to get big profits? We shall see what the public make of this, but I suspect its still a big mess of a legacy, and the ruin of the 'prudent' mans financial reputation.

Also today there was a report 'Are Biofuels Sustainable', released by the cross-party Environment Audit Committee (EAC). The Committee launched the inquiry on 25 July 2007, examining the role biofuels might play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as the wider economic, social and environmental impacts of agrifuels. Dr. Lucas, MEP for the South East, said"Today's report by the EAC is very welcome. Its long overdue recognition of the serious environmental impacts of large scale monoculture biofuels is one more nail in the coffin of the mass biofuel industry. It sends a very clear message to the Government that it must scrap its plans to push the UK towards a 5% biofuels target in two years' time."

It may surprise some to hear greens talking this way, as we used to be keen promoters of biofuel. We still are keen on using waste oil, far better to use this as a fuel than feed it to animals in a canabilistic risky way we did a few years ago, or see it thrown down the drain as happens all to often. What greens dont want is for rainforest to be sut down to make way for a cash crop of biofuel, reducing biodiversity and pushing up the price of food causing more hunger.

Dr Lucas, who has campaigned for several years against the current approach to biofuels (2), added: "This report adds to the ever increasing evidence that mass biofuels do not provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Last week, the Royal Society published its own report questioning the real effects of mass biofuel, and on the same day the EU Environment Commissioner himself revealed grave misgivings. These come on top of the numerous reports from environmental experts and NGOs. How much more evidence is needed to persuade the Government to put the brakes on biofuels?

"The UK and the EU are only now slowly waking up to the stark reality of a mass plant-based energy drive, having set biofuel targets that cannot possibly be achieved in a sustainable way. We need to actively seek to replace mass biofuels with less harmful, more sustainable and more environmentally beneficial alternatives."

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