Hidden EU Analysis: Biofuels Can Produce More CO2 Emissions Than Fossil Fuels

Reuters reports that it used freedom of information laws to obtain a copy of text that was stripped from a December 2009 European Union study on biofuels. The hidden portion of the study found that biodiesel fuel made from North American soybeans has an indirect carbon footprint of 339.9 kilograms of CO2 per gigajoule — about four times larger than standard diesel from petroleum.

The suppressed analysis jibes with Fargione et a. (2008) and Searchinger et al. (2009), who found that CO2 emissions from the land use changes associated with biofuel production exceed the emissions avoided by combusting biofuels instead of petroleum-based fuels.

“The EU’s executive European Commission said it had not doctored the report to hide the evidence, but only to allow a deeper analysis before publishing,” Reuters reports. Uh huh. And if the analysts had found that biodiesel has a much smaller footprint than standard diesel, the Commission would have deep-sixed that study too pending a “deeper analysis.” Right!

“Given the divergence of views and the level of complexity of the issue … it was considered better to leave the contentious analysis out of the report,” the Commission said in a statement. Well, when it comes to energy — or health care, or financial industry reform, or almost any public policy issue you can think of — when isn’t there a “divergence of views” and a high “level of complexity”?

EU policymakers don’t want to be troubled by the facts — and they don’t want hoi polloi getting hold of information that calls their agenda into question.

And they wonder why public trust in the ‘climate science community’ is waning!