A recent report published by the University of Leeds in the academic journal Science, warns of the implications of producing more biofuels to combat climate change. Leeds’ researchers published details which show that production of biofuel actually creates more cabon gases (over a thirty year period) than the use of regular fossil fuels.
The report pushes for the restoration and protection of forests as the key to reducing carbon load in the atmosphere. The problem isn’t with the use of Biofuels such as ethanol blends, but the actual production, which creates an enormous amount of CO2 emissions.
“If the point of biofuels policies is to limit global warming, policy makers may be better advised in the short term to focus on increasing the efficiency of fossil fuel use, to conserve existing forests and savannahs, and to restore natural forest and grassland habitats on cropland that is not needed for food,” said Righelato, a Leeds professor and trustee of the World Land Trust, a British conservation group.
The study shows that restoring and protecting forests over a 30 year period, is anywhere between two to nine times more beneficial in reducing C02 levels than using Biofuels.
This is not good news for the EU as it has only recently pledged to ensure biofuels make up 10 percent of vehicle fuels by 2020. Producing the needed biofuel would require roughly 40 percent of Europe’s agricultural land, which is a near impossibility, meaning that these crops will need to be imported from developing countries.
The study concludes by asking European governments to not clear forests to make way for biofuel crops, but instead focus on reducing current fossil fuel use and restoring forests.
The study comes amid an earlier research from Stanford university which showed Ethanol based fuels will lead to more respiratory-related death. The researchers used a 30 year period as they believed non-carbon based fuels will only be available after this time.