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Still Boondogglin'
Green Europe Moves Against “Green” Biofuels

Brussels put another dagger in the heart of the “green” biofuel industry this week, coming to a preliminary agreement on limiting mandates for crop-based biofuels. Reuters reports:

The European Union reached a tentative deal on Wednesday on a 7 percent limit on how much crop-based biofuel can be used in the transport sector, EU sources said.

The agreement on a legal text, thrashed out by representatives of the European Commission, the parliament and member states follows years of argument on traditional biofuels, which were once seen as environmental, but are now considered to do more harm than good. […]

Current legislation requires EU member states to ensure that renewable sources account for at least 10 percent of energy in transport by 2020. But research has shown the damage caused by many crop-based biofuels, such as those from maize and rapeseed. Apart from driving up food prices, using farmland to produce biofuels adds to pressure to free up land through deforestation, which can result in increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Just a few short years ago breathless greens were touting the environmental merits of growing our gas, but the facts have quickly overtaken those claims—and the myriad government subsidy regimes they spawned.

The more you think about it, the less “green” crop-based biofuels appear: They’re often an inefficient and therefore costly way to produce transport fuel; their ability to reduce emissions is dubious at best (in some cases they’ve been shown to actually increase greenhouse gas emissions); they often lead to local environmental damage as farmers eager to take advantage of government support clear-cut their way to unsustainability; and they drive up global food prices, starving the world’s poor.

Europe sees itself as the global leader in green initiatives, and has shown a surprisingly large appetite for unwieldy policies that incentivize anything with an “eco” prefix no matter the cost—and even there biofuels are coming under fire. Meanwhile here in the U.S., we’re dealing with our own biofuel boondoggle. Congress has introduced but failed to pass bills to reform and even repeal the policy mandates keeping our corn ethanol monster alive; here’s to hoping it can learn from its mistakes.

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  • emersonushc13

    Look, you can’t apply measurable standards of any kind to utopian fantasies such as this. To do so would be to not care about puppies, sunshine, babies, and crap like that. Because marxists care a lot about all kinds of important stuff like the environment and the revenge fantasies of self-defined repressed master-class victim groups.

  • http://whenfallsthecoliseum.com/author/kwatson/ megapotamus

    Down with biofuels! Especially our homegrown ethanol. But the reason biofuels is the queen of green is that it at least actually produces some go-juice. Neither solar nor wind has ever…. EVER delivered enough power at market rates to make a cup of tea. Not in Germany (the notoriously dark northern reaches of Rome), not here. Check out Ivanpah…. this was to be the Crown Jewel in our solar crown. It is a titanic disaster, at best generating a fourth of what it was claimed to do. Why? How? Because a 5mw solar or wind installation refers to its peak output. A 5mw gas plant produces that as a base. And on demand. Notice this equivalence makes no allowance for variability; the sun moving across the sky. They have not even considered night. That is the level of stupidity driving every scrap of the green agenda. And this ain’t no news flash, either. Dig. http://whenfallsthecoliseum.com/2011/09/20/the-long-range-forecast-no-sun-no-wind/

  • gabrielsyme

    It still disgusts me that a policy which has been clearly linked to higher world food prices for over seven years is only slowly being reduced. Is there a better example of the dysfunctionality of our governments and their complete disinterest in caring for the world’s poorest?

  • FrancisChalk

    Is there any “Green” policy or program that hasn’t been mindlessly overhyped by the Left? Any at all that have, in even the slightest way, lived up to the Left’s hype.

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