‘Biofuels are likely to make an important contribution to a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.’ Evaluate this statement using the evidence provided.
The opinion on biofuels is largely mixed, and it is questioned how effectively they will impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA] (2003) claim that biofuels are sustainable and renewable to a large extent, as they are made from recycled elements of the food chain and plant materials. However, the degree of sustainability is questioned in an article by Carrington (2011) who comments about the deforestation and unethical damages to the environment, as well as other problems. This essay explores both sides of the biofuels debate, with an aim of identifying the level of contribution they can make in the reduction of global greenhouse gasses. The argument for the positive impact biofuels make can first be looked at on a national level. In 2003, DEFRA claimed that by growing and using transport biofuels in the UK, carbon dioxide emissions could be cut by 50 – 60% compared to those from fossil fuels, as well as reducing the need for foreign imports, and so could lead to a reduction in greenhouse gases. This is backed up by an article which states that farmers in the UK see biofuels as a way of providing the nations motorists with a low carbon fuel supply (Kendall, 2006). Kendall makes clear that the demand for both fuel and food crops could be met in the UK, with enough arable land being readily available. The article also highlights that the reduction in the level of carbon dioxide emissions would equate to taking one million cars off the road, if biofuels accounted for just 5% of the fuel on forecourts. It becomes clear how reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a national level, resulting from the use of biofuels, can have a global impact when considering an article on aviation emissions by Caldecott (2012). It is predicted...
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