The OECD says yes to biofuels, but with conditions

It seems that for most of our politicians (on both sides of the pond and beyond), biofuels seem the perfect solution to all our energy problems while improving the environment. However, some voices are being raised and there are precautions to be taken: the OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) have sent a message of caution about biofuels.

According to their latest news related to this matter, there are currently only a few biofuels - like sugarcane-sourced ethanol as obtained in Brazil - that offer a positive balance in terms of polluting emissions and governments should only promote this kind of biofuels.

"Only a few biofuels seem to offer effectively something positive in terms of keeping our environment clean and energy-independence for countries", said Jack Short (Secretary of the Transport Forum, an OECD bureau). Some experts of this forum also affirmed that, among today's biofuels, only sugarcane ethanol is by far an adequate option, since it's easier to transform this sugar into ethanol than using grains such as corn or wheat. They also had words about second generation methods, such as cellullosic ethanol, being surrended by "great uncertainty"

[Source: Agencia EFE via Agroinformacion]

Another important warning from this Forum is the importat impact of biofuel crops on territory, which can seriously affect food crops, biodiversity and forest preservation.

Concerns don't stop here: they opine that biofuels are only desiderable because of the subsidies that they receive from goverments, which represent 150 billion dollars per year in OECD's 30 members. "There are cheaper ways to reduce CO2 and fuel usage", the affirm and they also claim that promotion biofuels has a collateral negative impact, because it makes fuels cheaper which counteracts all efforts to make transport more energy-efficient.

Finally, Short requested a certification method for all biofuels that discriminates biofuels depending on their environmental impact or if they really provide energy independence for certain countries, instead of current production incentives. He put California's bill on carbon emissions as a good reference to create a simpler, cheaper and more effective way to target carbon emissions, regardless of fuels.

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