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Govt ahead of the game on sustainable biofuels

Hon David Parker
Minister of Energy
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

15 January 2008 Media Statement

Govt ahead of the game on sustainable biofuels

The Labour-led government is already working to ensure biofuels used in New Zealand are from sustainable sources, Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker said today.

The Minister was responding to news the European Union is to set tougher criteria for biofuels, after acknowledging that some sources of biofuels have led to rainforest destruction and rising food prices, mainly affecting the world’s poor.

“We are determined to avoid the problems that Europe and others are now experiencing,” the Minister said.

“Biofuels are a useful and important alternative to fossil fuels for transport, but we don’t want to cause a new environmental problem as we fix another.”

The Biofuel Bill, which is currently before Parliament, contains a clause that enables environmental sustainability standards to be developed. It could also allow the government to block certain types, sources, or production processes of biofuels from qualifying towards the Biofuels Sales Obligation.

“Ethanol produced from sugarcane or cellulose, or biodiesel from algae or waste products are unlikely to raise any concerns. But we may have a problem with ethanol from sources that compete with corn, or biodiesel from palm oil where it has caused deforestation,” David Parker said.

The Biofuel Bill will give effect to the government’s Biofuels Sales Obligation, which requires oil companies to sell a proportion of biofuels, starting with 0.53 percent this year and rising to 3.4 percent of the fuel sold by 2012.

The Biofuel Sales Obligation was originally due to come into effect 1 April 2008 but has been moved to 1 July to allow time for the Bill to pass.


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