Shell supports slower adoption of biofuels targets

16 October 2008 11:34  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--A top executive from Shell Group voiced support on Thursday for the UK government-commissioned Gallagher review, which advocates a more cautious approach to biofuels targets in Europe.

“It seems to us that the Gallagher review has a good balance around key issues and we would support the review’s intentions,” said Graeme Sweeney, executive vice-president of future fuels and carbon dioxide (CO2) organisation for Shell.

The Gallagher review calls for a slowdown in the adoption of biofuels targets that was set by the EU to 0.5% a year, reaching 5% in 2013/2014.

“While it is not the case that we would agree with everything the review says, on the other hand, it’s a pretty sound conversation about this whole issue,” said Sweeney.

He added that the advancement of the biofuels industry should not be achieved at the expense of sustainability.

“We think that biofuels is going to be an important part of the total solution set, but we would make sure that it is introduced in a sustainable way,” said Sweeney.

The UK government has constantly maintained that it is not abandoning biofuels and remains committed to the European biofuel target of 10% by 2020, provided they are produced sustainably.

Under the current Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), the UK is committed to increasing the biofuels target at a rate of 1.25% per year until the level reaches 5% in 2010/2011.

Controversies over biofuels rose when grain prices soared to historical highs earlier on in the year and sparked discussions of rising deforestation rates, a deepening hunger crisis in poor countries and a net positive CO2 emission.

The Gallagher review was prepared by executive non-departmental public body the Renewable Fuels Agency and was commissioned when policymakers raised concerns over a possible increased net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Recommendations by the Gallagher review were also advocated by Ruth Kelly, the former Secretary of State for Transport, on 7 July when she formally proposed to the House for the amendment of the RTFO.

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels
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By: Bohan Loh
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