Are Biofuels Sustainable

Topics: Biofuel, Carbon dioxide, Greenhouse gas Pages: 54 (15573 words) Published: March 2, 2013
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee

Are biofuels sustainable?
First Report of Session 2007–08
Volume I

HC 76-I

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee

Are biofuels sustainable?
First Report of Session 2007–08
Volume I
Report, together with formal minutes
Ordered by The House of Commons to be printed 15 January 2008

HC 76-I
Published on 21 January 2008 by authority of the House of Commons London: The Stationery Office Limited £11.00

The Environmental Audit Committee
The Environmental Audit Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to consider to what extent the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development; to audit their performance against such targets as may be set for them by Her Majesty’s Ministers; and to report thereon to the House. Current membership Mr Tim Yeo, MP (Conservative, South Suffolk) (Chairman) Gregory Barker, MP (Conservative, Bexhill and Battle) Mr Martin Caton, MP (Labour, Gower) Mr Colin Challen, MP (Labour, Morley and Rothwell) Mr David Chaytor, MP (Labour, Bury North) Martin Horwood, MP (Liberal Democrat, Cheltenham) Mr Nick Hurd, MP (Conservative, Ruislip Northwood) Mark Lazarowicz, MP (Labour/Co-operative, Edinburgh North and Leith) Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP (Conservative, Bridgewater) Mr Shahid Malik, MP (Labour, Dewsbury) Mrs Linda Riordan, MP (Labour, Halifax) Mr Graham Stuart, MP (Conservative, Beverley & Holderness) Jo Swinson, MP (Liberal Democrat, East Dunbartonshire) Dr Desmond Turner, MP (Labour, Brighton, Kempton) Joan Walley, MP (Labour, Stoke-on-Trent North) Mr Phil Woolas, MP (Labour, Oldham and Saddleworth [ex-officio] Powers The constitution and powers are set out in House of Commons Standing Orders, principally Standing Order No. 152A. These are available on the Internet via Publication The Reports and evidence of the Committee are published by The Stationery Office by Order of the House. All publications of the Committee (including press notices) are on the Internet at: A list of Reports of the Committee from the present and prior Parliaments is at the back of this volume. Committee staff The current staff of the Committee are: Gordon Clarke (Clerk); Sara Howe (Second Clerk); Richard Douglas (Committee Specialist); Oliver Bennett (Committee Specialist); Susan Monaghan (Committee Assistant); Caroline McElwee (Secretary); Elizabeth Gardner, (Sandwich Student) Contacts All correspondence should be addressed to The Clerk, Environmental Audit Committee, Committee Office, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA. The telephone number for general inquiries is: 020 7219 6150; the Committee’s e-mail address is: References In the footnotes of this Report, references to oral evidence are indicated by ‘Q’ followed by the question number. References to written evidence are indicated by page number as in ‘Ev12’. number HC 76-II only if a vol 2: App’ refers to written evidence printed in Volume II, serial number HC 76-II]

Are biofuels sustainable?


Summary 1 Introduction
What are biofuels? Are biofuels ‘carbon neutral’? Biofuel policies and support mechanisms The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Agricultural subsidies Page

3 5
5 6 7 8 8


What are the possible impacts of biofuels?
Environmental impacts How much sustainable bioenergy can the UK produce? The effectiveness of international sustainability standards Land use change Managing land to store carbon Food security

10 13 14 16 18 20


The biofuel rationale
Climate change mitigation Biofuels vs biomass Biofuels vs wider policies Biofuels vs road transport policies Rural support Fuel security Policy coordination

22 22 24 25 29 30 31

Conclusions and recommendations Formal minutes
Tuesday 15 January 2008

32 36
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