• Comment of the day

    Jacques on Muthumbi junket: next the police minister will go to a renewables congress.

  • Rand in crisis

    The rand plunge reflects SA's leadership woes, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Ignorance is no excuse

    The SA Tourism CEO should stop shifting blame for the visa fiasco, says Solly Moeng.

All data is delayed
See More

UK govt told to cut 2020 biofuels target

Sep 10 2010 14:56

London - Britain should cut its target for biofuels use by 2020 so that tropical forests are not cut down to make way for biofuel crops, government climate advisors said on Friday.

Energy and climate minister Chris Huhne asked the Committee on Climate Change in July to advise on the country's renewable energy target.

Under wider European Union goals, Britain has agreed a legally binding target to get 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, compared with 3% now, and has individual goals for heat, transport fuel and electricity.

While supporting the country's overall target, the committee said a goal to obtain 10% of transport fuel from renewable sources, and mostly biofuels, was too high given sustainability concerns.

"This target should be lowered unless new evidence shows that it can be achieved sustainably," the committee said in a letter to Huhne. Biofuels account for about 2.5% of Britain's transport fuel mix now.

The committee supported an alternative, 8% target as recommended by a government-commissioned review in 2008.

Biofuels presently come from food crops such as corn, oil palm and sugar, and critics say that increased use of the alternative to conventional oil and gasoline has helped stoke food prices and tropical deforestation in countries like Indonesia and Brazil.

To cut costs, the committee also recommended shaving to 11% a target to get 12% of the country's heat from renewable sources by 2020, compared with 1.6% now.

"New policies should be quickly introduced (to support renewable heat)," it said.

The committee supported the country's overall renewable energy goal and said any shortfall from fewer biofuels or less renewable heat should be made up throuGh energy efficiency.

It backed a widespread industry view that the UK renewable energy target would be difficult, saying it was "within reach", but "pushes the limits of what is likely to be feasible".

"The current target is desirable, but there are significant risks around achieving it," said David Kennedy, committee chief executive.

For example, the country installed 1 gigawatt (GW) of wind power in 2009, far behind the 3 GW required annually by 2020, it said. Faster deployment required a slimmer planning process, cabling upgrades and more clarity over financial support.

The letter also called for a phasing out of investment in gas-fired power generation which didn't have carbon trapping technology fitted, called carbon capture and storage.

"Investment in unabated gas should be very limited beyond 2020, with almost all investment flowing to renewable and other low-carbon forms of generation."




Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Myths that funding and red tape are the two biggest challenges faced by emerging companies and entrepreneurs, have been debunked by a report.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Sarb’s possible intervention in the markets to stem the rand’s fall is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote