BRUSSELS — European Union legislators on Monday proposed ratcheting back an ambitious goal to raise Europe’s use of biofuels, signaling a significant retrenchment.
At the same time, a new report by the British government cast fresh doubt on using fuels from crops in the fight against climate change.
Until recently, European governments had sought to lead the rest of the world, setting a goal of 10 percent of transportation fuels to be derived from biofuels by 2020. But the allure has dimmed amid growing evidence that the kind of targets proposed by the E.U. are contributing to deforestation and helping force up food prices.
“I think when we will look back we will say this was the beginning of a turning point for Europe on biofuels,” said Juan Delgado, a research fellow specializing in energy and climate change expert at Breugel, a research organization in Brussels. “It will be very difficult now for Europe to stick by its targets.”
In the United States, an energy bill passed last year required that 36 billion gallons of biofuels be produced annually by 2022. But criticism is gaining ground there, too, with calls to end tax breaks for corn ethanol and other measures to stop so much American corn — about one-fourth of the crop — being used for biofuels.
Over the last 18 months, studies have shown that the current generation of biofuels reliant on crops like canola, corn and soybeans helps drive up food prices by using agricultural land, aggravates deforestation and may be worse for the climate than conventional oil once the cost of production and transport are taken into account. The majority of biofuels produced in the world today are extracted from corn in the United States, sugar in Brazil, and both grain and oil-seed crops in Europe.
Those findings now are pushing Europe into an about-face on biofuels that has gained momentum in recent days.
-- James Kanter, reporting on how the idiotic ideas environmentalists insisted on are - as this blog predicted - turning to shit brown, for the New York Times