New biofuels law "incredibly reckless" - Greenpeace

Last edited 14 April 2008 at 2:41pm

Plan is too weak to stop environmentally damaging crops being pumped into British tanks

14 April, 2008

The introduction of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) tomorrow could seriously undermine the UK's claim to leadership on climate change and increase emissions from the transport sector, according to Greenpeace.

The group claims that new rules to oblige motorists to pump biofuels into their tanks will drive rainforest destruction and could actually accelerate global warming.

The law does nothing to prevent biofuels grown on newly deforested land from being sold in the UK. Suppliers are only required to "report" the details of the crops they are using - a process which can be easily manipulated to hide the true origin of environmentally damaging crops like palm oil.

The Government admits there will be no sustainability standards for biofuels in place until at least 2011.

Forest destruction is responsible for about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. The destruction of Indonesia's peatland forests, an area covering just 0.1 per cent of the world's surface, now accounts for 4 per cent of annual global emissions. (1) This forest destruction is being driven by the expansion of palm oil plantations, increasingly for use in biofuels.

Reacting to the news, senior forests campaigner Belinda Fletcher said:

"Right now, rainforests are being destroyed to make way for biofuel crops in places like Indonesia. This destruction leads to massive greenhouse gas emissions and completely undermines the point of these so called ‘green fuels'.

"The government claims its plans will promote the best biofuels, but in reality there is nothing to stop the use of crops like Indonesian palm oil being pumped into our fuel tanks. At a time when the world's leading scientists are warning us of the madness of cutting down rainforests to grow crops for fuel, to press ahead with these plans is incredibly reckless.

The real solution is staring us in the face: make cars far more fuel efficient."




Notes to editors:

Greenpeace commissioned tests on a sample of Tesco diesel. These tests were carried out by an independent laboratory and show that the diesel currently being sold on Tesco's forecourts, which contains 5% biodiesel, is made up of approximately 30% palm oil and 70% soya.

This diesel was from Tesco's fuel station in Edmonton, which Greenergy admits to supplying.

For more contact the Greenpeace press office on 0207 865 8255.

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