A new report from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reckons that biofuels may “offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal”.
“The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits,” the OECD said.
“When acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel,” it added.
Many have railed against the impact of biofuels — from their impact on food prices (expensive pork in China and pricey tortillas in Mexico), to the concern it raises about water supplies.
But the OECD rightly flags up what should be the real focus of our attentions: better conservation of energy. Getting more miles out of our cars and reducing consumption altogether.