The religious charity is calling for a ‘radical overhaul’ of support for biofuels, so only crops offering ‘genuine greenhouse gas savings’ and ‘wider social benefits’ receive funding.

The report, Growing Pains, also urges governments to adopt a ‘new vision’ on biofuels, seeing them as a force for rural development in poor countries, rather than a silver bullet solution to climate change.

The report’s author, Eliot Whittington, said: “Vast sums of European and American taxpayers’ money are being used to prop up industries which are fuelling hunger, severe human rights abuses and environmental destruction – and failing to deliver the benefits claimed for them.

“The current approach to biofuels has been disastrous, policymakers should urgently re-think their entire approach to biofuels, to ensure that only crops and fuels which will achieve their social and environmental goals receive government backing.”

Mr Whittington believes the best approach to biofuels is to grow them on a small scale and process them locally to provide energy for people in that area.

Luke Walsh

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