• UN warning on biofuels benefits

    A United Nations report has warned that the negative impacts of biofuels could outweigh the benefits if environmental and social factors are not taken into consideration.


    The report, presented to a UN conference in New York last month, says governments should take a cautious approach, and ensure that the production of such fuels promotes socially acceptable land use.

    The report echoes concerns from T&E and other environmental NGOs that there are massive differences in the life-cycle performance of some biofuels compared with others, and that the worst fuels could do more damage than petrol and diesel.

    Yet the Commission has been forced to admit that it will be unable to stop biofuels being sold on the EU market which have not been produced sustainably. In a response to the Green MEP Caroline Lucas, the Commission confirmed that it was aiming to offer financial incentives only to those biofuels that were considered sustainable, but that it could not present “non-sustainable” biofuels being sold in Europe.

    The European news service Ends Daily says Brussels is not considering a mandatory certification scheme for biofuels, as it is unclear if such a scheme would be compatible with World Trade Organisation rules.

    • The Norwegian transport ministry says Norway’s forestry and wood processing industries could produce biofuels covering up to 30% of road transport demand within two decades.

    This news story is taken from the June 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.