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Bio-fuels Would Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Senior British Scientists

At a time when the Bush administration and its friends in Europe are avidly promoting biofuels as a viable alternative to the environment-polluting petroleum products , a senior science adviser to the Blair government has come out in the open against ethanol and the like.

Roland Clift, professor of environmental technology and a member of the Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) advisory council has said, Biodiesel is a complete scam because in the tropics the growing demand is causing forests to be burnt to make way for palm oil and similar crops.He is expected to tell a seminar Thursday that use of bio-fuels is likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Clifts comments will amount to a direct challenge to Secretary of State for Environment David Miliband who has published a strategy promoting bio-fuels. It coincides with a surge of anger among environmentalists over the weak pledges on climate change that emerged from last weeks G8 summit. The audience on Thursday will also include Howard Dalton, Milibands chief scientist at Defra, who is expected to speak in defense of bio-fuels.

Clift said: We calculate that the land will need to grow bio-diesel crops for 70-300 years to compensate for the CO2 emitted in forest destruction. Clift will also condemn plans to produce British bio-diesel from rapeseed, pointing to research showing the crop generates copious amounts of nitrous oxide an even more powerful global warming gas than CO2 The attack comes as the government increases its support for bio-fuels.

Next year it will introduce a requirement for 3% of all fuel sold on UK forecourts to come from a renewable source. Across the EU the renewable transport fuels obligation will increase this to 5% by 2010, with the British government pushing for a target of 10%.

Miliband wants British farming to diversify into bio-fuels. It is an important part of our vision for a diversifie
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