It ain’t easy bein’ greenOctober 5, 2012
Indirect land use change (ILUC) is the term given to the process by which previously forested lands are displaced by crops grown for the biofuels industry. Biofuels are largely seen as a “green” alternative to fossil fuels and a way to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. However, numerous studies have shown that, when you take deforestation into account, biofuel use may actually cause a net increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. The European Union placed biofuels at the center of its twin goals of reducing gasoline use by and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 2020. Those goals are in danger now because the biofuels industry is under attack on multiple fronts for not only deforestation, but also contributing to world hunger by displacing food crops as well. Sonja van Rensen at the European Energy Review has an excellent analysis of the unintended consequences of the biofuels mandate and the resultant troubles facing the European biofuels industry.