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Biofuels and climate change Biofuels opportunity or threat Biofuelwatch www'biofuelwatch'org'uk intr


introduced by Dr Andrew Boswell, biofuelwatch and UK Green ... Against/Abstain : 5 (CON) and 2 (LibDem) UK Biofuel law came in. In midst of global food crisis ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Biofuels and climate change Biofuels opportunity or threat Biofuelwatch www'biofuelwatch'org'uk intr

Biofuels and climate changeBiofuels
opportunity or threat? Biofuelwatchwww.biofuelw introduced by Dr Andrew Boswell,
biofuelwatch and UK Green Party councillor on
Norfolk County Council
Summary of presentation
  • Climate Change
  • Key issues for campaigners
  • Policy and Legislation problems
  • Sustainability criteria
  • Demand reduction and policy strategies

Climate Change is No 1 global issue
  • Global food crisis, energy costs, peak oil,
    economic/credit crucial too
  • Have less than 10 years to start (Stern etc)
  • Solutions will need to be social, political and

Current trends
90 reductions - industrialised countries
Technology for or against climate, ecology and
  • Humanity cannot afford false solutions
  • Climate Change is Complex
  • Life and Earth are part of a whole system
  • must consider systemic view
  • Sound science essential
  • Evidence based approach essential
  • New technologies must be subject to thorough
    scrutiny/review on social, human and ecological

Energy and Emissions policy- what we would like
to see!
160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20
Current EU energy policy Supply increase
Clean coal
90 carbon emission reduction needed URGENTLY!
Oil shale
Half-hearted renewables
Emission reduction policies?
1990 2000 2010
Emission reduction
  • "it would obviously be insane if we had a policy
    to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    through the use of biofuels that's actually
    leading to an increase in the greenhouse gases
    from biofuels."
  • Prof Bob Watson, DEFRA chief scientist
  • Descending the emissions curve is crucial, BUT it
    is not everything we must understand the other
    impacts in the whole system

What are key issues for biofuel campaigners?
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) balances
  • Indirect, Land Use Change (LUC), N2O, CO2
  • Environmental impacts
  • Deforestation, loss of habitats / biodiversity,
    water depletion, soil erosion, chemicals
  • Social impacts
  • Poverty, land grabbing, land conflicts, human
    rights, labour, food security and sovereignty
  • The concerns and calls from many organisations in
    the Global South

Agriculture/Land Use already 30-40 of global GHGs
  • Deforestation, agriculture and peat

The Land Use risk Exporting emissions from
Northern transport to Southern agriculture and
land use Also applies to Northern
agriculture (set aside etc)
From Stern Report
Land Use Conversion
Agrofuel LUC will create further massive emissions
  • A one-off GHG hit that takes many years to repay
  • Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or
    grasslands to produce food-based biofuels in
    Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States
    creates a biofuel carbon debt by releasing 17
    to 840 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse
    gas (GHG) reductions these biofuels provide by
    displacing fossil fuels.
  • Fargione and Searchinger papers, Science,
    February 2008
  • Peatland rainforest -gt Palm Oil 840 years to
  • But Palm Oil plantations only 25 years lifetime

N20 needs further study
  • microbes convert N fertiliser to N2O
  • Underestimated (IPCC) - Crutzen
  • oilseed rape biodiesel, for example, is up to 70
    worse for the climate than fossil fuel diesel
    (also corn ethanol)
  • UK and EU Biofuels GHG calculations in scientific
  • Nitrogen pollution Baltic, Gulf of Mexico

UK Government figures NOW in complete scientific
  • From LowCVP presentation to UK Bioenergy
    conference Sept 2007

Corn Ethanol -50
Oil Seed rape biodiesel -70
Climate Impacts of Agrofuels not on political
radar until recently
  • N2O and LUC GHG science only just emerging
    (although predicted for years)
  • Green fuel greenwash campaign by technologists,
    Government and Industry
  • California - Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program
    LUC data being presented
  • UK Gallagher/RFA review yet to report

Food vs Fuel
  • Lester Brown has warned since 2006
  • UN FAO, September 2007
  • Developing countries face serious social unrest
    as they struggle to cope with soaring food
  • UN FAO, February 2008
  • We will have a significant gap in food aid ,
    and we will need an extra half billion dollars
    just to meet existing assessed needs.
  • Brown summit, April 2008
  • Biofuels highlighted as a key issue

Yes, food crisis is not just biofuels
  • Biofuels estimate to be 30 of problem (UN FAO)
  • shock to food prices (Beddington)
  • Commodity Speculation
  • Climate change, poor harvests and droughts
  • Increasing meat consumption India, China

Urgent Issues EU/UK Wheat Ethanol Surge
EU Focus has been on biodiesel
? UK Legislation RTFO
  • Westminster disquiet, Oct 2007
  • No sustainability criteria until 2011
  • For 10 (LAB de facto whip)
  • Against/Abstain 5 (CON) and 2 (LibDem)
  • UK Biofuel law came in
  • In midst of global food crisis
  • Against warnings of senior scientists / policy
  • With Gallagher review outstanding
  • UK ministers - Darling/Wicks/Brown/Alexander all
    urging caution

? EU Legislation
  • Confusion
  • Renewables Directive
  • 10 by volume biofuels by 2020
  • Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)
  • could force up to 26-28 BFs
  • UK / France / Germany
  • all talking of capping targets (ie not above 5)

Sustainability criteria (1)
  • Immature discipline
  • Driven by interests of industry and government
  • Where are NGO stakeholders?
  • Enforcement
  • How can agricultural system and supply chains
    across planet be audited?
  • Many omissions
  • Direct and indirect GHGs (leakage)
  • Existing agriculture displaced by agrofuels moves
    into new areas
  • Direct and indirect environmental impacts
  • Deforestation, loss of habitats / biodiversity,
    water depletion, soil erosion, chemicals

Sustainability criteria (2)
  • Direct and indirect social impacts
  • Poverty, land conflicts, human rights, labour,
    food security and sovereignty
  • Macro impacts through commodity price shifts not
  • Amazon deforestation ?? soy price
  • US Corn for ethanol displaces US soy gt soy
  • EU oilseed rape use causes palm oil prices?
    causes palm oil expansion
  • Start times (holes in a leaky buckets)
  • UK RTFO writes off peat land converted before
  • EU No GHG target until 2013 for plantations
    before 2008

GHG Calculators
  • Largely look at processing side not agriculture
  • Weighted to favour industry
  • Default values often weighted in favour of poor
    GHG biofuels
  • Direct and In-direct land use change (LUC) not
    understood or covered
  • Ditto N2O

What went wrong for biofuels?
  • The Green Fuel line over spun by scientists,
    government and industry
  • Environmentalists, Voices from the Global South
    not listened to
  • Government policies driven by
  • Being seen to do something
  • Energy security NOT climate security
  • All the above are lessons for future

Second generation BFs etc
  • Technology will not deliver
  • in time (very complex technology)
  • in quantity (scalability issues)
  • EU targets
  • April 2008 In the view of the European
    Environmental Agency Scientific Committee the
    land required to meet the 10  target exceeds
    this available EU arable land area even if a
    considerable contribution of second generation
    fuels is assumed.
  • Cellulosic technology
  • negative energy return (Patzek, Pimental etc)
  • GHG balances wishful thinking?

Second generation BFs etc
  • Must be evaluated at complete system level
  • Water / soil depletion?
  • What is most efficient way to harvest solar
  • Biodiversity impacts
  • GM fuel crops next to food crops difficult to
    sell to EU citizens

National/EU legislation/policy for demand
  • Strict/robust vehicle efficiency
  • Public transport investment
  • Modal shift
  • Sustainable planning
  • Reduce journeys
  • Big investment into True renewables
  • Marine / big wind / cheap PV / Desert solar?
  • Electric vehicles and electric storage
    technologies / HVDC grid
  • Needs political will/courage

Desert Solar or CSP Concentrated Solar Power
Descending the transport emissions curve - Demand
reduction is key
160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20
Reduce vehicle emissions by 50 - smaller, more
efficient vehicles
Reduce journeys planning, modal shift, decouple
transport from economy
Reduce liquid fuel plug-in hybrids
Change Supply - Concentrating Solar Power ?
1990 2000 2010
Agrofuel Moratorium calls
  • George Monbiot, April 2007, Guardian
  • Southern and Northern NGOs (over 150), July 2007
  • No EU Imports, Large scale mono cultures
  • Jean Ziegler, UN, October 2007
  • Food crisis crime against humanity
  • African NGOs (30), November 2007
  • No global targets, no more African dev.
  • UK MPs Environmental Audit Committee
  • Suspend EU/UK targets

  • Moratorium on targets, imports and large scale
    agrofuels is needed NOW
  • Stop rainforest/ecological catastrophe
  • Stabilise food supply, prevent starvation
  • Enhance the evidence base
  • Real public policy debate with NGO and Southern
  • Looks at BFs in context of whole climate issue
  • Look at the better ways forward