Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bioenergy targets based on flawed science: report

By Charlie Dunmore

BRUSSELS Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:30am EDT

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Existing targets for biofuels and other forms of bioenergy are based on flawed carbon accounting and should be revised downwards, a draft report by a panel of 19 top European scientists showed.

"It is widely assumed that bioenergy is inherently carbon-neutral. However, this assumption is flawed," said the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency, the European Union's environment watchdog.

"The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense," said the draft opinion seen by Reuters.

The report is intended to guide EU policymaking on bioenergy, but its findings apply to policies implemented by other governments around the world, the scientists said.

If the findings are confirmed and heeded by policymakers, it would undermine the case in favor of using biofuels and could lead to a wholesale U-turn in existing bioenergy policy.

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