April 2008 saw the government declare that a small percentage of biofuels would be added to the make-up of petrol and diesel in the UK. However, revealed in a research paper released by Friends of the Earth yesterday, the biofuels may be contributing up to twice the amount of CO2 as the fossil fuels they have replaced in the fuel mix.
The extra CO2 emitted by the biofuels has been estimated at roughly 1.3 million tonnes or the equivalent of putting an extra half a million cars on the UK’s roads. The CO2 calculations are being made on how much rainforest is being destroyed to make way for the growth of biofuel crops to supply the UK. The biofuel crops are not as efficient at removing CO2 from the atmosphere as virgin rainforest, resulting in a net increase in CO2.
The government do not currently account for this in their figures, prompting the environmental group to call for a temporary halt to the biofuels obligation until the full scale of the situation has been assessed. Friends of the Earth want the government to look at the statistics to see if the biofuels are worth adding to the fuel mix if the overall CO2 emissions actually end up being higher.
The group also stated yesterday on their website that the government should be doing more to support local public transport systems and promoting the increase in overall efficiency of vehicles on the UK’s roads.