||[Oct. 18th, 2007|01:02 pm]
The People Who Hug Trees
On Tuesday, 23rd October, MPs in the Standing Committee will be debating the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) Order and there is likely to be a vote in the House of Commons shortly afterwards. The RTFO will make blending of biofuels mandatory in the UK from April 2008. All car drivers will be forced to buy biofuels, including those linked to rainforest destruction, human rights abuses, displacement of rural communities and very high greenhouse gas emissions. |
Please write to your MP before Tuesday and ask him of her to vote against the RTFO Order. We do not have the software to allow people to automatically send letters to their MP, so we would ask you to do the following instead:
1. Copy the letter below.
2. Go to the website http://www.writetothem.com/ and type in your postcode.
3. Click on ‘MP’ and complete the form for sending an email directly to him or her. Paste the letter below into the email box. You can edit the letter below or write your own personal one if you like. Please let your friends and family know about this important matter. Many thanks.
DRAFT LETTER: The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) Order will be debated in the Standing Committee on Tuesday, 23rd October and it is likely to be put to a vote in the House of Commons shortly afterwards. I strongly hope that you will vote against the RTFO Order. The RTFO Order will see all road fuels containing 2.5% biofuel from April 2008 rising to 5% by April 2010. Biofuels from any source, no matter how destructive, will be permitted, and only a weak ‘sustainability reporting’ requirement will be set up, even though consumers will not be able to exercise any choice, due to mandatory blending. The ‘sustainability criteria’ under the RTFO are wholly inadequate to prevent damage being done now and future damage from the rush to biofuels: Monoculture expansion for biofuels is the fastest growing cause of rainforest destruction. Indonesia alone is losing some 5 acres per minute of pristine rainforest adding massively to global warming and species extinction. We are wiping out species that have taken millions of years to evolve…so that Europeans can run cars on biofuel! Rainforests are being destroyed because biofuels are pushing up the price of sugar cane, soya and palm oil – the proposals contained in the RTFO Order do nothing to address the link between higher commodity prices and faster deforestation. According to the special rapporteur to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 60 million indigenous people could soon become biofuel refugees (tinyurl.com/2rxgv6). A study published by NASA scientists last year shows that the rate of Amazon deforestation correlates with the price of soya (tinyurl.com/37mpss). Amazon deforestation had slowed down since 2005 when soya prices were falling and it appears to be accelerating again now that soya prices are rising (tinyurl.com/2sa2sb). The growing demand for biofuels is pushing up the price of soya worldwide. The RTFO consultation on Carbon and Sustainability Reporting closed prior to publication of some critical scientific research on nitrous oxide emissions from biofuel growing. This recent scientific research from Nobel prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen shows that the contribution of nitrous oxide, N2O, a very powerful greenhouse gas created from nitrogen fertilizer residues has been drastically underestimated and that rapeseed biodiesel produces up to 70% more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuel diesel (see an overview at http://tinyurl.com/2a6xpm. The RTFO department still use old data and estimate the greenhouse gas savings from European grown oil seed rape to be between 45% and 65% over normal diesel. The whole of the RTFO methodology is called into scientific doubt by this finding. A system of default values is defined in the methodology to make reporting easy and encourage industry growth. However, these will allow some biofuels (e.g. Palm Oil grown on South East Asian peatlands) to use a default value that drastically underestimates their impact. Palm oil biodiesel from these peatlands can create 8 times the CO2 emissions than fossil fuel diesel (tinyurl.com/2wjtvy). The executive director of the World Food Programme has warned that, as biofuels are pushing up the price of food, they may soon no longer be able to provide food aid to the 90 million people who depend on them for their survival (tinyurl.com/2kgn4g). The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, has called for a five year moratorium on biofuel production and will make a formal call for such a moratorium in the UN General Assembly on 25th October. He has warned that rising food prices due to biofuels would result in ‘a massacre’ (tinyurl.com/2ltgwd). A recent OECD report (tinyurl.com/2uhkza) warns that biofuel targets are pushing up food prices, and that “the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel”. It recommends that biofuel targets be abandoned. The RTFO was supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but there is clear evidence that, instead, it will increase them at a global level. We need real cuts in our transport emissions – this means strict fuel efficiency standards, enforced speed limits and policies which reduce the volume of traffic. Please do what you can to support real reductions in fuel use and to prevent the RTFO Order from becoming law.