Its not just climate impact that makes biofuels from monocultures distinctly non-green. There are bio-diversity losses, water and soil degradation, human rights abuses including the impoverishment and dispossession of local populations, the loss of food sovereignty and food security and a stimulus to rising food prices around the globe. Despite this the BBC reports that:
This commodity is blamed for creating more greenhouse gases than it saves, and for destroying the rainforest habitat of orangutans.
The government says biofuels are needed to help keep the lights on and to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. [If they did their carbon sums properly they'd know it is a falsehood that biofuels help cut carbon emissions]
Environmentalists are also concerned at new subsidies for burning wood pellets in power stations. They say the huge scale of imported wood is unsustainable.
Oxfam's policy adviser Tracy Carty said the MPs' decision made no sense because it would only increase the burning of harmful biofuels in UK power plants.
"Biofuels, like palm oil, produce more carbon emissions than they save, fuel land grabs and increase global food prices," she said.
"Germany and The Netherlands have decided to remove these types of subsidies and it's high time the UK did the same. The UK government needs to seriously reassess its bankrolling of biofuels, and take a lead in securing an end to harmful EU biofuel targets this year."
See BBC reports and links here. Further posts on biofuels here.