From: Reuters
Published September 20, 2007 12:02 PM

UK Sees Need For Global Biofuel Standards, Protections

OXFORD (Reuters) - Global standards must be developed to ensure the growth in the use of biofuels does not have damaging consequences for the environment, Britain's Climate Change Minister Phil Woolas said on Thursday.

"The global community must as a matter of urgency work towards the development of internationally recognized standards for biomass grown to produce biofuels," he told a conference organized by Britain's Renewable Energy Association.

Woolas said several studies had pointed to the dangers of deforestation and rising food prices "if we increase in the wrong way the production of energy."

"I am acutely aware of the environmental concern of this, Cutting one's nose off to spite one's face is not a good policy," he said.

Biofuels, which can be made from crops such as grains, oilseeds and sugar, can be substituted for conventional motor fuel and are seen as a way to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases believed to contribute to climate change.

"We are committed to ensuring that biofuels used in the UK do come from sustainable sources. That debate is beginning to take off, raging in some parts of the media," he said.

Environmental groups have expressed concerns about deforestation in Asia as areas are cleared to grow crops for an expected massive expansion in the use of biofuels.

There have also been fears that the use of land for energy crops has been a factor in the recent rise in food prices in many countries.

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