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Response to the Committee on Climate Change Fourth Carbon Budget comment on sustainable biofuels

15 December 2010

"We are very interested in the work of the Committee on Climate Change which brings valuable focus on how the UK can and should reduce its carbon emissions in the coming decades. However, in its most recent report, The Fourth Carbon Budget, the Committee has made statements about the sustainability of biofuels which demonstrate a misunderstanding about the role and potential of advanced sustainable bioenergy.

"The BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC) is the UK’s single largest public investment in advanced sustainable bioenergy. A central aim of BSBEC is to significantly improve the sustainability of bioenergy derived from non-food crops and waste materials. Study of the economic and social impacts and also the analysis of the environmental life cycles of various routes to advanced bioenergy runs alongside the Centre’s underpinning scientific research activities. We agree with the Committee’s observation on the potentially important role for future biofuels in aviation. However, we strongly believe that in conjunction with other energy sources and vectors (e.g. the use of battery electric vehicles in urban environments) biofuels have a key role to play in other areas of transport. Biofuels have an immediate benefit as a general transport fuel in that to a significant extent they are compatible with current distribution infrastructure. In its report the Committee on Climate Change has not taken into account the work of researchers, such as those within BSBEC, and the potential for this to provide step changes in sustainability in advanced bioenergy. The obstacles the Committee highlights are precisely the challenges that the UK’s world-class research base is currently working to overcome.

BBSRC, BSBEC and our research community are committed to exploring all approaches to sustainable bioenergy, to deliver drastic reductions in carbon emissions while developing new, low-carbon jobs and economic growth for the UK"

Duncan Eggar, BBSRC Bioenergy Champion


BBSRC Media Office

tel: 01793 414694