Help mark April Biofool's Day

Posted by jamie — 8 April 2008 at 12:21pm - Comments

We had Fossil Fool's Day last week with plenty of action around the country to highlight the dangers posed by coal, but the dreadful punning doesn't stop there. Continuing the theme, next Tuesday is April Biofool's Day which admittedly falls on the 15th rather than the 1st, but that's because the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) - which will overnight increase our consumption of biofuels - begins to make its presence felt.

On the day, the good folks at Biofuelwatch and the Campaign against Climate Change are organising a protest outside the home of a certain Mr Gordon Brown, Number 10 Downing Street. You can join the crowds outside Number 10 from 6pm and further details are on the websites of both organisations. If you can't get there, you can still do something - write to transport secretary Ruth Kelly with your concerns about this rush towards biofuels.

Meanwhile, concerns about biofuels are rising up the political ladder, as last week UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called for a review on global biofuel policies. Our government currently has the indirect impacts with biofuels under review but the results aren't due for some time, and certainly not before Biofool's Day next week.

Biofuels 'splash and dash' scam - Greenpeace reponse

Last edited 1 April 2008 at 2:21pm
1 April, 2008

Reacting to news that biofuel companies are profiting from a process known as "splash and dash" (1), Greenpeace senior forest campaigner Belinda Fletcher said:

"Shipping biofuels back and forth across the world for tax breaks is just one more example of the way this industry pretends to be green while actually contributing to climate change.

Letter to Ruth Kelly regarding biofuels and the RTFO

Last edited 24 March 2008 at 4:07pm
Publication date: 
24 March, 2008

A coalition of some of Britain's biggest environmental and development groups has warned the Government that its biofuel policy risks doing more harm than good in the fight against climate change and global poverty. The organisations are demanding that ministers delay the introduction of legislation which would see biofuels pumped into every tank in the country from April 15th 2008. 

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Leading environmental and development groups attack government's biofuel plans

Last edited 24 March 2008 at 10:34am

NGOs echo words of top DEFRA scientist and demand biofuel obligation be postponed

24 March, 2008

A coalition of some of Britain's biggest environmental and development groups have sent a joint letter (1) to Government warning that the UK's biofuel policy risks doing more harm than good in the fight against climate change and global poverty.

The intervention intensifies pressure on the Government following a BBC interview in which Professor Bob Watson, DEFRA's chief scientific advisor, cast serious doubt on the plans and insisted that it would be "insane" if the policy ended up having the opposite effect to the one intended. (2)

Problems at the pump as new biofuel law draws closer

Posted by jamie — 24 March 2008 at 10:00am - Comments

A car speeding along a road

In a few weeks' time on Tuesday 15 April, every fuel company in the UK will be obliged to include a certain amount of biofuel in their petrol and diesel supplies. This is because, to comply with EU policies, the government has decreed we will all be using biofuels whether we want to or not but as you're probably aware, a lot of people have severe concerns about this.

Virgin's biofuel flight is all spin and greenwash

Posted by jamie — 25 February 2008 at 2:28pm - Comments

With all the excitement happening today at Terminal One, it's worth remembering that yesterday was another eventful one in Heathrow's calendar as a Virgin Atlantic plane steered away from its usual transatlantic route to fly between Heathrow and Amsterdam. No, the guidance systems weren't malfunctioning: it was a test flight to demonstrate that biofuels can be used in aircraft. But what's that dripping from the undercarriage? Could it be a tonne of greenwash?

Virgin announced its plans to test biofuels some time ago but has been reluctant to say exactly what kind of biofuel they would be using. To quell concerns about the impact on the cost of food, a press release assured us that it wouldn't "compete with food and fresh water resources". The rumour was that it would be made from algae, but in the end it turned out to be a mixture of coconut and babassu oil. These aren't food crops as such, but if the aviation industry leaps on them as an apparently easy way to reduce emissions, that's going to have a huge environmental impact.

Government announces major biofuel review - Greenpeace responds

Last edited 21 February 2008 at 4:04pm
21 February, 2008

Greenpeace today welcomed the government's announcement of a scientific review into the impacts of biofuels, but insisted that Britain's biofuel targets be suspended until the full consequences of the technology are properly understood.

The study, to be conducted by the UK's new Renewable Fuels Agency (1), will look both at the immediate impact of biofuels and at so-called "indirect effects".

Biofuels protests planned across the UK

Posted by jamie — 28 January 2008 at 6:56pm - Comments

The guys at Biofuelwatch have been cooking up a week of protests around (what else?) biofuels. Like us, they're concerned about the rising demand for biodiesel etc and the implications that has for the climate, as well as deforestation, food prices and a host of other related issues.

More doubts raised over biofuel targets

Posted by jamie — 21 January 2008 at 5:52pm - Comments

Yet more questions have been raised in political circles about biofuel targets. Following last week's statements from the European environment commissioner, Defra's chief scientist and the Royal Society, a parliamentary committee has released its own report which says that pursuing mandatory targets without any form of sustainability criteria attached is not a good idea.

Senior EU and Defra figures agree: we were too hasty on biofuel targets

Posted by jamie — 14 January 2008 at 7:11pm - Comments

Biofuels may cause rather than prevent more greenhouse gas emissions

We could be witnessing a seismic and very exciting shift in how UK and EU policies on biofuels are being perceived in official circles. Both the EU Environment Commissioner and Defra's own chief scientist today went on record to say that current plans to vastly increase the amount of fuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel might need to be reconsidered.

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