Beware Aviation Biofuels!
Biofuels are not benign
A nice, clean alternative to dirty oil or coal.
Responsible airlines helping the planet.
That’s how they are marketed.
Don’t fall for the hype!
Land for food not fuel!
In the warm countries of the Global South, where the best and most profitable biofuels come from, they compete with food production for scarce land. Their production drives poor people off their land to eek out a living on scrubland or to cut down precious forests. Food prices shoot up for both poor people and rich consumers in the UK and developed countries. Vast areas of land would be needed to grow the amounts of biofuel being considered, which would inevitable lead to loss of habitats, ecosystems and biodiversity.
The new frontier for greedy speculators
The rush to grow biofuels is driven by mega-corporations and speculators. Their only interest is to make big profits. In Africa and Mexico speculation is already causing land grabs. Their concern is only partly to cut carbon, but largely to make money, or gain some independence from conventional oil producing countries. In Europe, there are lucrative subsidies and credits for the use of biofuels.
All about oil running out
Business knows cheap oil is running out. It is desperate for alternatives. Nobody is more desperate than the aviation industry. Planes can’t go electric! That’s why it wants biofuels.
Forget the fine words (1)
The aviation industry says it won’t use biofuels which compete with food or forests for land. In reality, it already does. No other types of biofuels will be available for commercial use for decades. All biofuel markets are linked, and even if one user finds a “sustainable” source, another user then ends up with the environmentally damaging ones. The aviation industry knows that, unless it scales back its activities, it will have no option but to use all types of biofuels. Palm oil is the most likely, being the most available and the cheapest – and the production of industrial amounts of palm oil encourages destruction of tropical rain forest.
Forget the fine words (2)
The aviation industry says biofuels will cut its climate change emissions. Only partly true. Biofuels are far from carbon-neutral. The real reason aviation is rushing to embrace biofuels is its desperation to find an alternative to kerosene, so it can keep on with business-as-usual growth.
A Dangerous Diversion
Biofuels are not benign. They are a dangerous diversion. Money poured into biofuels will reduce the amount that can be invested into real alternatives to oil. It also delays the time when we face up to our problems of energy supply. Biofuel targets and biofuel subsidies in the EU need to be removed. The misguided rush into biofuels will encourage us in the rich world to believe we can continue to fly – and drive – even more than we now do.
Don’t fall for the hype!