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The recent suggestion that biofuels could generate more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels over the next ten years came as a bit of a surprise.

The benefits of European plans for biofuel to make up ten per cent of transport fuels by 2020 were thrown into question by green groups this week. They said the biofuel strategy will indirectly generate an extra 27-56 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, and the allocation of 69,000 sq km of land to produce biofuels would cause food shortages elsewhere.

Nine environmental groups teamed up this week to issue a report on the adverse affects of biofuels on climate change.

The debate includes the subject of ‘indirect land-use change’ which suggests that land used for biofuel reduces land available for food crops, which in turn could result in people going hungry and/or the clearance of rainforests to make up the shortfall. Pollution could also be caused by the burning of forest to create that land.

Changes in land use caused by the expansion of biofuels could also lead to the release of carbon stored in soil in some cases.

Not sure about you, but we’re confused.  We’ve always been under the assumption that there are few if any negatives to biofuels, so the report this week made for interesting reading.

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