Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Biofuels from Large-scale Monocultures are not Clean Energy

Press release by Aberdeen Campaign Against Climate Change

-embargoed for 10am, 23/5/07-

Aberdeen Campaign Against Climate Change will be holding a banner protest outside the All-Energy Conference at the Exhibition Centre, on Wednesday, 23rd May, 9.30 am, to protest against the promotion of large-scale monocultures for biofuels. The protest will coincide with a speech to be made by the US Ambassador H.E. Robert H. Tuttle, who has defended the United States' 'climate policy' in a newsletter published by the organisers of the All Energy Conference, quoting biofuel expansion as his country's 'positive response' to global warming.
Almuth Ernsting of Aberdeen Campaign Against Climate Change says: 'The US government have been sabotaging progress at international climate conferences for years and their emissions continue to rise steeply. Large-scale biofuels do not mitigate global warming, but make it happen even faster, as rainforests and other ecosystems are rapidly being destroyed to make way for vast monocultures to grow crops for cars in rich nations”.
Earlier this year, over 250 organisations and prominent individuals from North and South sent an Open Letter to the European Union, which also promotes rapid biofuel expansion, warning that production of biofuel crops threatens to accelerate climate change, increases destruction of biodiversity, competes with food production causing price increases for staple crops, and threatens local communities in the global South. Serious human rights abuses are arising in South America and South East Asia related to monoculture expansion for biofuels.
Alan Fleming of the campaign states: "We are holding this protest outside the All Energy conference to make sure that people distinguish between clean, truly renewable sources of energy such as sustainable wind, solar, wave and tidal power on the one hand and biofuels from large-scale monocultures on the other. We are glad the All Energy conference will promote wind, solar and marine energy sources as part of the solution to climate change. However, companies with interests in biofuels who are presenting at the conference should be aware of the problems biofuels are creating. Both intensive agriculture and deforestation are major contributors to global warming and biofuels threaten to greatly increase those emissions. Poor countries already suffer from ever more extreme weather events and rising temperatures caused mainly by fossil fuel emissions from rich nations. Now, they are seeing their farmlands, forests and pasture lands transformed into vast monocultures as Europe and the US try to solve their energy problems at the expense of the global South."

The protesters will hold banners stating "One tank of SUV fuel = 1 year's food", "Deforestation for biofuels fuels climate chaos" and "Biofuels destroy forests and fuel climate change". They will hand information leaflets to people entering and leaving the conference.

Photo opportunity: from 9.30 am, 23/5/07, outside main entrance, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

1. For US Ambassador H.E. Robert H. Tuttle’s written contribution to the All Energy Conference,, Issue 2, page 6.
2. Aberdeen Campaign Against Climate change is a local campaign group which seeks to raise awareness of the causes of climate change and promotes individual and government action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Further details can be found at
3. For background information about the impacts of biofuel expansion, see
4. Early this year, over 250 organisations and prominent individuals from North and South send an Open Letter against biofuel targets to the EU. This can be found at
5. US demand for biofuel from corn has increased the current world grain deficit, raising corn prices significantly, rising corn prices in Mexico by around 400% and leading to widespread protests in that country. A declaration by Latin American Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) has stated that “We want food sovereignty, not biofuels… While Europeans maintain their lifestyle based on automobile culture, the population of Southern countries will have less and less land for food crops and will loose its food sovereignty…” See: .
6. Indonesia's biofuel plans, are set to expand Palm Oil production 43-fold [] and threaten most of that country's remaining rainforests and peatlands. If those plans are implemented, up to 50 billion tonnes of carbon are likely to be released into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of over six years of global fossil fuel burning would clearly stand in the way of our common objective of stabilizing the climate before feedback mechanisms make this impossible.7. NASA have shown that the rate of Amazon deforestation directly correlates with the world market price of soya []. That price is expected to rise sharply as demand for soya biodiesel grows. Soya expansion is linked to deforestation not just in the Amazon but also elsewhere, including the Pantanal, South America's Atlantic Forest and a portion of the Paranaense forest in Paraguay and North of Argentina. In Argentina, more than 500000 ht of forest land were converted to soya plantations between 1998 to 2002 [].