The Department for Transport commissioned E4tech to undertake a study of the overall impact of its biofuel target on forests and other undeveloped land. The study, seen by the Times, shows that millions of acres of forest will be logged or burnt down to create the plantations required to supply biofuel targets. The Adam Smith Institute criticized from the outset the use of edible crops to produce fuel for vehicles instead of food for the malnourished. Now the findings show that the use of palm oil and similar products involves a vast release of carbon when forest and grassland is converted to plantations. The verdict is that biofuels actually pollute more than diesel when their overall impact is assessed.

The obvious question is why was such a perverse policy was implemented? The answer might well be that a toxic combination of environmentalists chanting "renewables" combined with farming lobbies chanting "subsidies," proved irresistible to politicians seeking votes. David Cameron says he is poised to announce clear policies that set out the Conservative position. An immediate candidate would be a rethink of the commitment to biofuels, to stop the damage before it gets any worse.