The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) policy which came info force 15th April requires 5% of all UK fuel sold on UK forecourts to consist of biofuels by 2010. This prompted the World Land Trust to write to Ruth Kelly, MP, Secretary of State for Transport (see letter below). The government is now reviewing these targets, with a report on the review expected in May.
To: The Rt. Hon. Ruth Kelly, MP, Secretary of State for Transport
Copies to: Sir David Attenborough O.M. and Trustees of WLT
It has become clear from a wealth of recent research that biofuels at best offer marginal net carbon emissions savings and in most cases create more emissions than they save. Large areas of land are needed to meet even the low current targets for fuel substitution. This is causing, directly and through displacement of other crops, conversion of forests and grasslands destroying the natural fauna and flora, destabilising local climate, water supplies and livelihoods. Moreover, existing arable land, if it is not used for food, can often be more effectively used for emissions reduction by restoring it to forest than by growing fuel crops.
We urge the UK government to reject the RTFO and seek a moratorium on imports of biofuels unless and until it can be shown (i) that they provide clear emissions savings after accounting for land use change caused directly and indirectly by their production, and (ii) that the other environmental impacts of their production have been assessed and criteria for sustainability applied. Within Europe, a review should be carried out of the ways in which arable land not needed for food production can contribute to emissions reductions, including reversion to natural forest, fen and grassland.
Renton Righelato (Chairman)
John Burton (Chief Executive Officer)
What you can do
You can write to Ruth Kelly via Greenpeace UK to ask the government to drop the biofuels targets.