Europe, which is weighing mandatory targets for biofuels and other sources of renewable energy, has a key role to play in ending the world economy's addiction to fossil fuels, former US Vice President Al Gore said.
The European Commission, the European Union's executive, has implemented an emissions-trading system to curb carbon dioxide and is asking its governments to back binding minimum targets for renewable energy. Carbon dioxide acts to warm the Earth by trapping the sun's energy. The EU „has such an important role to play,” Gore told reporters in Brussels today after speaking at the World Biofuels Markets conference. „I'm trying to get my country to change its policies, but in the meantime, the EU is absolutely key to helping the world make the change it must.” Leaders from the 27-nation EU will discuss mandatory targets for biofuels and other sources of renewable energy at a March 8-9 summit. Gore's film about climate change, „An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Oscar last month, and his efforts to bring about a more environmentally friendly economy put him in the running for this year's Nobel Peace prize.
Biofuels emit less pollution when burned and the crops used to make them absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. At the same time, increasing production in response to higher oil prices and government policies has underscored the growing costs involved in making them, including their impact on increasingly scarce water supplies. „There is a water crisis already emerging in many parts of the world and indeed, one of the critical inputs that has to be planned on a sustainable basis is water,” Gore said. „It's true for all fuels.” Biofuels such as ethanol, made from sugar or wheat, and biodiesel, refined from rapeseed oil or animal fat, would make up 10% of all transport fuel by 2020 under proposals EU leaders will discuss this week. They will also debate plans to ensure that at least 20% of all energy comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. (Bloomberg)