Archived press release
Cautious welcome for biofuels obligation

Friends of the Earth welcomed the Government's promise today (Thursday 10th November) that biofuels will form five per cent of transport fuel sales by 2010, helping to tackle transport's contribution to climate change.

But the environmental campaign group stressed that Transport Secretary Alistair Darling's plans to facilitate growth in road and air travel will more than wipe out savings from the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation by 2015 [1].

Friends of the Earth also welcomed the Government's proposed assurance scheme "to ensure that biofuels are sourced sustainably". But, they warned that without strong safeguards, the proposed Obligation could encourage biofuel producers to damage the countryside by intensifying production at the expense of wildlife, destroy rainforests through imports of palm oil or harm wildlife overseas by using oils derived from GM-crops.

Friends of the Earth's Transport Campaigner, Tony Bosworth said:

"We're delighted to see the Government support biofuels in this way - they have a vital role to play in cutting transport emissions. But use of biofuels must be tied to a strong assurance scheme to ensure their production doesn't damage the countryside, encourage the destruction of tropical rainforests or promote intensive farming of GM crops. And unless Alistair Darling tackles the expansion of road and air travel at the same time, then the emissions savings from biofuels will be wiped out by the rest of the transport sector."

Friends of the Earth said that using biofuels will play a part in cutting emissions. Friends of the Earth's `The Big Ask' campaign is calling for a law which will commit the Government to cutting emissions by three per cent every year.

Note

[1] Mr Darling claims that the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation will save one million tonnes of carbon by 2010. Yet transport emissions are due to rise by 2.1 million tonnes by 2015.

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust