Biofuels Folly

Whether climate change is happening, whether it\’s human activity causing it if it is: yes, people still argue about this. However, can we all agree that the politician\’s acticities attempting to deal with it have been a perfect example of why politics cannot solve certain problems?

Gordon Brown is preparing for a battle with the European Union over biofuels after one of the government\’s leading scientists warned they could exacerbate climate change rather than combat it.

In an outspoken attack on a policy which comes into force next week, Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said it would be wrong to introduce compulsory quotas for the use of biofuels in petrol and diesel before their effects had been properly assessed.

"If one started to use biofuels … and in reality that policy led to an increase in greenhouse gases rather than a decrease, that would obviously be insane," Watson said. "It would certainly be a perverse outcome."

Well, quite, yes, it would be insane, wouldn\’t it?

And it isn\’t as if it is new news that biofuels won\’t help, they will hinder. David Pimental has been stating this as a fact (supported by good research papers) for a decade.

So why don\’t we simply stop? Why not cease making things worse?

Sources say the government has no choice but to implement the guidelines next month because Britain is obliged under EU law to comply with the 2010 target.

Because the true government of these islands says we can\’t. One further example of the problem with the enterprise itself. The decisions are taken at such rarified levels that error cannot be corrected. There is no scrutiny, no blocking mechanism: in short, there is no way to break into the decision making system and point out that people are being silly buggers.

Britain will move cautiously in its battle with Brussels because José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, is championing the 10% target for 2020. Barroso this month dismissed as "exaggerated" claims that biofuels can lead to increases in food prices and greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation. But other members of the commission and other countries, including Germany, sympathise with Britain.

See? No one is actually looking at the facts. It\’s all a matter of politics, of compromise, of appeasing interest groups.

Don\’t look at what the EU says it is doing, don\’t look at what it says it wants to do. Look instead at what it is actually doing.

If you think the EU is going to beat climate change you\’re obviously not paying attention.

Can we leave yet?

5 comments on “Biofuels Folly

  1. Sources say the government has no choice but to implement the guidelines next month because Britain is obliged under EU law to comply with the 2010 target.

    Obliged how? What are the penalties for not complying? Just curious……

  2. I discovered the other day that Ethanol needs to be shipped in tankers and can’t go through existing pipelines. Great for the environment isn’t it?

    (although, someone in the US appears to have come up with a cost effective way to convert most vegetable matter, and even tyres soon, into ethanol)

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