Skip to main content

Energy: Biofuels

Volume 697: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether definitive evidence is available to establish that, from original seed production to fuel tank, biofuels are beneficial against climate change; and, if such evidence is available, whether they will publish it. [HL497]

In the UK and internationally, there has been a significant number of commercial and government-funded independent assessments of the field-to-tank carbon impacts of biofuels. The results are published and freely available.

Recent studies have indicated typical savings in carbon emissions of 20 to 80 per cent for biofuels derived from both UK-produced and imported feed stocks. The range is very wide as the carbon savings achieved depend on many assumptions and on the particular supply and production chains studied. The treatment of co-products has a major impact, as do assumptions on how the land would otherwise have been used.

With the introduction of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation in April 2008, the Government will require companies supplying transport fuels to report on the carbon intensity of the biofuels they are sourcing. A detailed methodology for assessing this has been developed, and the Government were consulted on this approach in June 2007. Copies of the consultation paper were placed in the House Libraries and are available on the Department for Transport website.

The Government are working with other member states and the Commission towards a harmonised EU approach to this issue. We are also working with international bodies such as the Global Bioenergy Partnership to seek international agreement on an approach to the measurement of carbon benefits.