NGOs Slam UN Aviation Agency Plan for Biofuels
(Phys.Org) Nearly 100 environmental and poverty fighting groups jointly released a letter Tuesday slamming a UN proposal that backs large-scale use of biofuels in commercial planes.
Extensive burning of biofuels would vastly expand the production of palm oil, which critics say drives deforestation, higher CO2 emissions and conflicts with indigenous peoples displaced from their land.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “vision” plan calls for 128 million tonnes of biofuels to be used in jet engines every year by 2040, going up to 285 million tonnes—half of all aviation fuel—by 2050.
By comparison, some 82 million tonnes of biofuels a year are currently used in transport of all kinds worldwide.
“We therefore call on ICAO’s Member States to oppose the promotion of biofuels for aviation,” the NGOs said in the letter.
Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial aviation rose by nearly 90 percent between 1990 and 2014.
If the sector were a country, its CO2 output would be on a par with Germany or Indonesia, and place it among the top 15 carbon polluters worldwide.
“Instead, ICAO should make aviation pay its fair share of taxes and promote measures that do reduce aviation emissions.”
The international arms of ActionAid, Oxfam and Friends of the Earth were among the 96 signatories. READ MORE
Almost 100 Organisations Worldwide Condemn UN Aviation Agency’s Biofuel Plans (Friends of the Earth)
172,000 sign petition against aviation biofuels (Biofuels International)
MEPs vote to ban the use of palm oil in biofuels (The Guardian)
Excerpt from Biofuels International: Misguided? ICAO lists used cooking oil, algae and other feedstocks as potential raw materials for making jet biofuels. However, Brussels based industry watchdog Transport & Environment argues that there are limited amounts of these raw materials that can be sustainably sourced.
Transport & Environment argue in a statement connected to the petition that palm oil is the feedstock that can be most easily sourced to supply the “huge and sudden” increase of biofuels demand, because it is cheapest and most widely available vegetable oil in the market.
“Citizens around the world are very concerned about burning palm oil in planes,” said Klaus Schenk of Rainforest Rescue, in a statement. “The vast use of palm oil for aviation biofuels would destroy the world’s rainforests, the basis of life for local people and the habitats of endangered species such as orangutans. READ MORE