A leaked paper from the European Commission’s in-house research unit has raised major concerns about the European Union’s (EU) goal of increasing the share of biofuels in transport fuels from 2% to 10% by 2020.
The leak follows publication by the British House of Commons Select Committee report, which was highly critical of the UK Government’s biofuels strategy.
The working study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) claimed that the uncertainty is too great to say whether the EU’s biofuels targets will save greenhouse gas emissions.
It raises increasingly intense concerns that potential deforestation caused by biofuel production could negate the savings from conventional EU biofuels.
The JRC also claimed that hopes that biofuel production would generate jobs was “wishful thinking” because it could destroy jobs in mineral oils or farming industries harmed by a switch to biofuels.
The leak will be an embarrassment for the commission, which is reviewing its biofuel strategy.
However, Brussels has remained bullish. EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that its biofuel policy is “delivering significant greenhouse gas reductions, compared with its alternative, oil”.