…between two and nine times more carbon emissions are avoided by trapping carbon in trees and forest soil than by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels. Around 40% of Europe’s agricultural land would be needed to grow biofuel crops to meet the 10% fossil fuel substitution target. That demand on arable land cannot be met in the EU or the US, say the scientists, so is likely to shift the burden on land in developing countries. The National Farmers Union said 20% of Britain’s agricultural land could be used to grow biofuels by 2010. However, the researchers say reforesting the land would be a better way to reduce emissions. Biofuels look good in climate change terms from a Western perspective, said Dr Spracklen, but globally they actually lead to higher carbon emissions. “Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia among others have huge deforestation programmes to supply the world biofuel market”, he said. The researchers say the emphasis should be placed on increasing the efficiency of fossil fuel use and moving to carbon-free alternatives such as renewable energy.
From Guardian Unlimited.