Brits Debate Eco-Wisdom of Biofuels

Oil substitute may destroy rainforests, increase food prices
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2008 11:03 AM CST
A advertisement for BioDiesel fuel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, March 9, 2007. The U.S. and Brazil signed an advance biofuel agreement between their two countries.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Biofuels may actually exacerbate the environmental problems they were meant to allay, reports the Observer, and a UK Parliamentary committee has released a report examining the possible effects. Using fuel made from crops like tallow and rapeseed may actually worsen greenhouse gas emissions, kill rainforests, and drive up food prices due to land competition.

The report’s findings will be particularly relevant in Britain, which will soon require gas and diesel to contain at least 2.5% biofuels; concerns may lead the committee to push for delays in the legislation. But the environmental minister stands by the plan: “Even if biofuels are not as good as people claim, the question that matters is, are they better than oil?”