THE GOVERNMENT should expand the role of biofuels and biomass if it wants to get serious about reducing the UK’s emissions of carbon dioxide, according to the Country Land & Business Association.
Its report “Renewable Energy – more than wind” the CLA “takes a hard look based on the scientific evidence” at the role rural enterprises can play in making a significant contribution to the meeting the challenge of climate change.
Under the UN’s Kyoto treaty (which became law in 128 countries on Feb 16 2005) the UK is required to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide by 12% of 1990 levels by 2012.
However, the aviation sector, one area where emissions are growing rapidly, is exempt from the protocol.
The focus will then fall on: road transport emissions (24.8% of CO2 production); electricity production (23% of CO2 production) and heat generation (difficult to quantify but more than half) as the key areas for attention.
It is transport emissions and heat generation that the CLA is targeting with its report.
CLA President Mark Hudson said that climate change presented a stark challenge for all of us and unless the UK improves its energy efficiency it would miss its targets for 2010.
“We call on the government to give practical help to a much broader-based renewable energy sector: wind power is not enough. At this turning point for UK agriculture there is an enormous opportunity, both for the economy and the environment, to boost our embryonic ‘grown fuels’ sector and to reduce our reliance on wind power to meet Kyoto targets.
“We’re not making a special case: renewable energy provided by agriculture must, and does, stack up in economic and environmental terms. But if we want a future where people and businesses can opt to use biofuel produced from crops in their vehicles or to buy heat and electricity produced from biomass crops, then government needs to make some changes to planning, taxation and grant aid and to the obligations it sets itself on the sources of energy.”
• The report was sent to four government departments: DEFRA; DTi; Treasury and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.