Using plant-based materials for fuel in cars and trucks was until
recently heralded as the answer to the need to reduce carbon emissions
from petrol and diesel fuels.
But the alarm expressed yesterday
by Professor Robert Watson, the government's highest-ranking
environment scientist, that the headlong pursuit of biofuels could
accelerate climate change, is the latest in a series of comments from
senior figures that have shaken Whitehall.
Both Watson and the
former chief scientific officer, Sir David King, have joined the chorus
of those calling for a key "sustainability" clause to be introduced to
ensure biofuels do not compound the problem by competing for land with
staple food crops and speeding up deforestation.
Radio 4's Today programme, Watson said: "It would obviously be insane
if we had a policy to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through
the use of biofuels that's actually leading to an increase in the
greenhouse gases from biofuels."
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