November 08, 2011
Europe Boosting CO2 Emissions With Biofuels Mandate

Biomass energy: the government energy policy disaster that keeps on giving. Yet another reason why biofuel subsidies and biofuel legislated requirements are a bad idea.

A new study on greenhouse gas emissions from oil palm plantations has calculated a more than 50% increase in levels of CO2 emissions than previously thought – and warned that the demand for 'green' biofuels could be costing the earth.

The study from the University of Leicester was conducted for the International Council on Clean Transportation, an international think tank that wished to assess the greenhouse gas emissions associated with biodiesel production. Biodiesel mandates can increase palm oil demand directly (the European Biodiesel Board recently reported big increases in biodiesel imported from Indonesia) and also indirectly, because palm oil is the world's most important source of vegetable oil and will replace oil from rapeseed or soy in food if they are instead used to make biodiesel.

The palm oil plantations let more light hit the ground, heating up the soil, drying it out, and causing the peatlands to break down.

There is more carbon stored in tropical peatlands than in tropical forests.

Dr Sue Page, Reader in Physical Geography at the University of Leicester, added: "Tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia are a globally important store of soil carbon – exceeding the amount stored in tropical forest vegetation. They are under enormous pressure from plantation development. Projections indicate an increase in oil palm plantations on peat to a total area of 2.5Mha by the year 2020 in western Indonesia alone –an area equivalent in size to the land area of the United Kingdom."

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 November 08 07:47 PM  Energy Biomass

John Cunningham said at November 11, 2011 11:15 AM:

Too hilarious for words, no? The Greenie Obama-felchers continue to step on their cranks.

J.M. Heinrichs said at November 11, 2011 7:50 PM:

No reference to the "Precautionary Principle" and it's absolute necessity in all things natural?


Engineer-Poet said at November 12, 2011 4:54 PM:
No reference to the "Precautionary Principle" and it's absolute necessity in all things natural?
The EU (formerly Common Market) agricultural policy wasn't subjected to such analysis, and the biofuel mandate started as just another way to pull acreage out of food production to keep farm prices up.  Similar story in the USA with ethanol.
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