Wednesday, December 31, 2008

RE: [biofuelwatch] The Guardian on the Air NZ jatropha test flight



The comments on this article contained this interesting one on where the aviation industry ‘sees’ this going:

The idea is to gradually increase the amount of biofuel in the blend... the Virgin Atlantic flight earlier this year used a 25% mix, this flight is on 50% and so on. The reason that the aviation industry is looking at a so-called 'drop-in' biofuel is so that, as sustainable biofuel stocks become available over time, we can just mix it in to existing jet fuel, gradually increasing the amount of biofuel in the world jet fuel supply. The reason today's flight was significant is that it was the first use of a totally sustainable biofuel in a commerical aircraft. The tests will continue over the course of the next few years until the industry is satisfied that the fuel works well and is safe and regulators can certify it for commercial use. On our website, we have a page on the use of sustainable biofuels that may be of interest: www.enviro.aero/biofuels.aspx.

Haldane Dodd
Air Transport Action Group, Geneva

 

 


From: biofuelwatch@yahoogroups.com [mailto:biofuelwatch@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jim Roland
Sent: 31 December 2008 00:44
To: biofuelwatch@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [biofuelwatch] The Guardian on the Air NZ jatropha test flight

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/30/biofuel-test-plane
 

Jatropha-fuelled plane touches down after successful test flight

Air New Zealand plane flown on second-generation biofuel

Air New Zealand plane flown on second-generation biofuel

The search for an environmentally friendly fuel for airplanes took a leap forward today with the world's first flight powered by a second-generation biofuel, derived from plants that do not compete with food crops.

An Air New Zealand jumbo jet left Auckland just before midnight GMT with a 50-50 mix of jet fuel and oil from jatropha trees in one of its four engines. The two-hour test flight, which took the Boeing 747 over the Hauraki Gulf, showed that the jatropha biofuel was suitable for use in airplanes without the need for any modifications of the engines. It forms part of the airline's plan to source 10% of its fuel from sustainable sources by 2013.

"At an emotional level, it was an exciting day today," said Air New Zealand's chief pilot, David Morgan, who was on the test flight. "We achieved everything we wanted to achieve and it as a significant milestone for the aviation industry, doing the very first jatropha-fuelled flight. We're thrilled."

The flight was completed as the US airline Continental announced its own plans to test second-generation biofuels: next week it will fly a plane over the Gulf of Mexico with fuel derived from algae.

Air travel contributes 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and is one of the fastest rising contributors to climate change, but the search for a greener alternative to kerosene jet fuel has been problematic. Airlines cannot use standard first-generation biofuels such as ethanol because these would freeze at high altitude. In addition, environmentalists argue that manufacturing biofuels can produce more emissions than they absorb when growing, and can also displace agricultural crops and push up the price of food.



Air New Zealand's biofuel was made from jatropha nuts, which are up to 40% oil, harvested from trees grown on marginal land in India, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania. The fuel was pre-tested to show that it was suitable for airplanes, freezing at -47C and burning at 38C.

The flight included a series of tests to assess how the biofuel-powered engine operated compared to the ones running on kerosene at different speeds and at different stages of a normal flight. "The flight was notable for the lack of any surprises – everything ran normally and as expected," said Morgan. "The fuel was indistinguishable from jet A1, a true drop-in fuel. You could not see a difference in the four engines."

Continental's forthcoming demonstration flight will use a mixture of jatropha-derived biofuel and fuel made from algae, supplied by the San Diego company Sapphire Energy, seen as leaders in the search to make useful oil from micro-organisms. In the first commercial test flight of biofuels in the US, one of the engines on a Boeing 737-800 will be filled with a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional jet fuel.

"One of the reasons we chose algae and jatropha is that both are not food sources and can be grown in arid regions and virtually anywhere," said Leah Rayne, managing director of global affairs at Continental. "So they do not compete with food crops for water."

She added that, although the jatropha and algae fuels did not require any modifications to current aircraft engines, it would take several years of test flights for the biofuels to be certified for general use by airlines.

Robin Oakley, head of Greenpeace UK's climate change campaign, warned against overinterpreting the results of the test flights. When Air New Zealand announced its biofuel plans in November, he said: "We need a dose of realism here, because this test flight does not mean an end to the use of kerosene in jet engines. The amount of jatropha that would be needed to power the world's entire aviation sector cannot be produced in anything like a sustainable way, and even if large volumes could be grown, planes are an incredibly wasteful way of using it." Environmentalists argue that curbing flights is the only true solution.

The Air New Zealand and Continental planes are not the first to use biofuels: in February, Virgin Atlantic successfully tried a mixture of 80% jet fuel and 20% biofuel - made from coconut oil and babassu palm oil - in one engine of a Boeing 747 on a flight between London and Amsterdam.
 
[Comments/end]
 
 

 


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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

[biofuelwatch] The Guardian on the Air NZ jatropha test flight



http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/30/biofuel-test-plane
 

Jatropha-fuelled plane touches down after successful test flight

Air New Zealand plane flown on second-generation biofuel

Air New Zealand plane flown on second-generation biofuel

The search for an environmentally friendly fuel for airplanes took a leap forward today with the world's first flight powered by a second-generation biofuel, derived from plants that do not compete with food crops.

An Air New Zealand jumbo jet left Auckland just before midnight GMT with a 50-50 mix of jet fuel and oil from jatropha trees in one of its four engines. The two-hour test flight, which took the Boeing 747 over the Hauraki Gulf, showed that the jatropha biofuel was suitable for use in airplanes without the need for any modifications of the engines. It forms part of the airline's plan to source 10% of its fuel from sustainable sources by 2013.

"At an emotional level, it was an exciting day today," said Air New Zealand's chief pilot, David Morgan, who was on the test flight. "We achieved everything we wanted to achieve and it as a significant milestone for the aviation industry, doing the very first jatropha-fuelled flight. We're thrilled."

The flight was completed as the US airline Continental announced its own plans to test second-generation biofuels: next week it will fly a plane over the Gulf of Mexico with fuel derived from algae.

Air travel contributes 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and is one of the fastest rising contributors to climate change, but the search for a greener alternative to kerosene jet fuel has been problematic. Airlines cannot use standard first-generation biofuels such as ethanol because these would freeze at high altitude. In addition, environmentalists argue that manufacturing biofuels can produce more emissions than they absorb when growing, and can also displace agricultural crops and push up the price of food.



Air New Zealand's biofuel was made from jatropha nuts, which are up to 40% oil, harvested from trees grown on marginal land in India, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania. The fuel was pre-tested to show that it was suitable for airplanes, freezing at -47C and burning at 38C.

The flight included a series of tests to assess how the biofuel-powered engine operated compared to the ones running on kerosene at different speeds and at different stages of a normal flight. "The flight was notable for the lack of any surprises – everything ran normally and as expected," said Morgan. "The fuel was indistinguishable from jet A1, a true drop-in fuel. You could not see a difference in the four engines."

Continental's forthcoming demonstration flight will use a mixture of jatropha-derived biofuel and fuel made from algae, supplied by the San Diego company Sapphire Energy, seen as leaders in the search to make useful oil from micro-organisms. In the first commercial test flight of biofuels in the US, one of the engines on a Boeing 737-800 will be filled with a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional jet fuel.

"One of the reasons we chose algae and jatropha is that both are not food sources and can be grown in arid regions and virtually anywhere," said Leah Rayne, managing director of global affairs at Continental. "So they do not compete with food crops for water."

She added that, although the jatropha and algae fuels did not require any modifications to current aircraft engines, it would take several years of test flights for the biofuels to be certified for general use by airlines.

Robin Oakley, head of Greenpeace UK's climate change campaign, warned against overinterpreting the results of the test flights. When Air New Zealand announced its biofuel plans in November, he said: "We need a dose of realism here, because this test flight does not mean an end to the use of kerosene in jet engines. The amount of jatropha that would be needed to power the world's entire aviation sector cannot be produced in anything like a sustainable way, and even if large volumes could be grown, planes are an incredibly wasteful way of using it." Environmentalists argue that curbing flights is the only true solution.

The Air New Zealand and Continental planes are not the first to use biofuels: in February, Virgin Atlantic successfully tried a mixture of 80% jet fuel and 20% biofuel - made from coconut oil and babassu palm oil - in one engine of a Boeing 747 on a flight between London and Amsterdam.
 
[Comments/end]
 
 


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[biofuelwatch] Queen's Bentleys made flex-fuel; Air NZ test-flies jatropha blend



1.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/motoring/article-1103028/Queen-goes-green-10million-Bentleys-converted-run-biofuel.html?ITO=1490
 

Queen goes green as her £10million Bentleys are converted to run on biofuel

By Ray Massey
Last updated at 3:09 PM on 30th December 2008
The Queen is to set to 'go green' by having her two gas-guzzling state Bentleys converted to run on biofuels. This is part of a move by the British luxury car-maker to become more environmentally friendly - and a new biofuel-burning high-performance car is expected in the New Year. 
The Volkswagen-owned, Crewe-based company is to produce a new range of engines which will offer a 40 per cent improvement in fuel economy by 2012, with all new vehicles able to run on the plant-derived fuel. But the 'flex-fuel' system, as it's called, will also allow the vehicles to run on conventional petrol.

Bentley executives said the Royal Family had been extremely supportive of moves to go green and it would be relatively simple to replace the engines of the two state limousines that they presented to the Queen and continue to maintain.

Queen Elizabeth beside the Bentley state limousine

Green machine: The Queen stands alongside one of her two Bentley state limousines which are to be converted to run on biofuel

Prince Charles has already converted one of his Aston Martins to run on bio-ethanol made from surplus English wine. His other cars - Jaguars, an Audi and a Range Rover - have been converted to use old cooking fat.

Stuart McCullough, Bentley board member for sales and marketing, said the company's own customer base included highly placed opinion-formers: 'We have the ear of some very influential people at a level lobbyists can't reach - not just in this country but abroad.'
The Queen's two state limousines are worth about £10million each. The first was a gift from the manufacturer for her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

She was so taken with it that she persuaded the company to revamp a mothballed prototype so she could have two - ensuring there was always one on hand when she was travelling from one end of the country to the other. The second car was bought from the company. Powered by a 400bhp twin-turbo 6.75litre V8 engine, it manages between 20mph and 25mpg.

A Bentley executive said: 'We have a lot of support from the Royal Family for our biofuel strategy. It is something about which they all take a keen interest.'

Bringing a new meaning to the term 'British Racing Green', the company's biofuel report says: 'Bentley will introduce a new powertrain offering a 40 per cent fuel economy improvement by 2012. Also, by 2012, 100 per cent of the range will be compatible with renewable fuels, delivering significant savings in CO2 emissions.'

 

BIOFUEL FACTS

Ministers were initially in favour of biofuels, but their opinions have changed after claims that food-producing land is being turned over to making fuel for cars. 
However, new second-generation biofuels get around this by being produced from rubbish, including household waste.

Biofuels are alcohols created from plants and can be derived from a range of vegetation including crops such as sugar cane, sugar beet and oil seed rape, or from forest clippings.

They do release carbon dioxide - the so-called greenhouse gas blamed for global warming - but this is balanced by the CO2 absorbed by the plants when growing.

But environmental campaigners, who once backed biofuels, have recently attacked the strategy, arguing that vast tracts of land used to grow food have been diverted to fuel plants, causing food prices to soar and creating global food shortages. Using household waste gets around this problem.

Oil is itself a carbon-based organic fuel, formed from crushed animals and vegetation over millions of years.

With little adaptation, cars can also run on alcohol or ethanol from sugar-beet or wood chip, and even vegetable oil.

  • Bentley has had to curtail production and go on shorttime working as the recession has hit global sales. A spokesman said: 'We have to cut production. If the demand is not there, we have no choice.' He said that across the UK motor industry job cuts were 'inevitable', but would have to be dealt with 'sensitively', adding: 'This whole recession is about the credit crunch. Someone turned off the oxygen.'
[Comments/end]
 
 
2.  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6186535.html
 

Boeing 747 partly run on veggie oil completes test flight

By RAY LILLEY Associated Press

Dec. 30, 2008, 3:35AM

photo
Paul Esrcourt NZ Herald
Test pilot, Capt. Keith Pattie, carries out pre-flight checks before their test of a biofuel mixture in the left engine of Boeing 747 in Auckland, New Zealand, today.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A passenger jet powered in part by vegetable oil successfully completed a two-hour flight today to test a biofuel that could lower airplane emissions and cut costs, Air New Zealand said.
One engine of a Boeing 747-400 airplane was powered by a 50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel.
This year has seen an unprecedented push for alternative fuels by airlines, which were slammed by skyrocketing oil prices earlier in 2008 and are now bracing for a falloff in air travel in the face of a global economic slowdown.
While Air New Zealand couldn't say whether the blend would be cheaper than standard jet fuel since jatropha is not yet produced on a commercial scale, the company expects the blend to be "cost competitive," according to company spokeswoman Tracy Mills.
Biofuels were once regarded as impractical for aviation because most freeze at the low temperatures encountered at cruising altitudes. But tests show jatropha, whose seeds yield an oil already used to produce fuels like biodiesel, has an even lower freezing point than jet fuel.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Rob Fyfe called the flight "a milestone for the airline and commercial aviation."
"Today we stand at the earliest stages of sustainable fuel development and an important moment in aviation history," he said shortly after the flight. The company's goal is to become the world's most environmentally sustainable airline.
The flight was the first to use jatropha as part of a biofuel mix.
In February, Boeing and Virgin Atlantic carried out a similar test flight that included a biofuel mixture of palm and coconut oil — but was dismissed as a publicity stunt by environmentalists who said the fuel could not be produced in the quantities needed for commercial aviation use.
Biofuels emit as much carbon as kerosene-based jet fuel, but jatropha — a Mexican plant that grows in warm climates — absorbs about half the carbon that jatropha-based fuels release. Air New Zealand's proposed blend, for example, would mean a one-quarter reduction in the carbon footprint of standard jet fuel.
Many biofuels — like ethanol which is produced from corn — have been blamed for raising the price of food by diverting it from kitchen tables to engines. While the link between biofuels and grain prices is debatable, Mills said that jatophra plants would not compete with food or other commercial crops since it can grow on land that would make poor farmland and needs little water.
"Ethanol is a first generation biofuel; jatophra a second generation biofuel that doesn't compete for land with food production," Mills said.
The test flight out of Auckland International Airport included a full-power takeoff and cruising to 35,000 feet (10,600 meters), where the crew manually set all four engine controls to check for identical performance readings among the biofuel-powered engine and those using jet fuel. Pilots also switched off the fuel pump for the biofuel engine at 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) "to test the lubricity of the fuel," ensuring its friction in the pipe did not slow its flow to the engine.
Capt. David Morgan, the airline's chief pilot who was on board the airplane, said results from the flight tests will provide the company and its partners with invaluable data to help jatropha become a certified aviation fuel.
The checks were "designed to test the biofuel to the fullest extent," Morgan said.
While the airline heralded the flight as successful, Air New Zealand Group Manager Ed Sims cautioned that it will be at least 2013 before the company can ensure easy access to the large quantities of jatropha it would need to use the biofuel on all of its flights.
"Clearly we are a long, long way from being able to source commercially quantifiable amounts of the fuel and then be able to move that amount of fuel around the world to be able to power the world's airlines is still some years off," Sims told New Zealand's National Radio.
The company bought the seeds from plantations in East Africa and India that total 309,000 acres (125,000 hectares).
The company hopes that by 2013, 10 percent of its flights will be powered, at least in part, by biofuels, Mills said. Most of those using the blend would be short haul domestic services.
The flight was a joint venture by Air New Zealand, airplane maker Boeing, engine maker Rolls Royce and biofuel specialist, UOP Llc, a unit of Honeywell International.
The flight, initially scheduled for earlier this month, was postponed after an Air New Zealand A320 Airbus crashed off Perpignan on the south coast of France on Nov. 27, killing all seven on board.
 
[Comments/end]
 
 


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

[biofuelwatch] India plans energy 'empire'; biofuel moves in Ukraine and Thailand



1.  http://www.financialexpress.com/news/now-foreign-policy-objectives-to-drive-indias-energy-security-goals/404055/0
 

Now, foreign policy objectives to drive India's energy security goals

 
Swaraj Thapa
Posted: 2008-12-29 02:13:53+05:30 IST
Updated: Dec 29, 2008 at 0213 hrs IST

New Delhi: In a move that formally acknowledges the government's desire to leverage India's status as one of the world's largest consumers of oil to its diplomatic advantage, the country's energy purchases will now officially be guided by foreign policy objectives. The UPA government has set up an institutional mechanism in the form of a group of ministers (GoM) under the chairmanship of the external affairs minister which will be the final authority for conduct of structured energy dialogues with energy-rich countries.

The permanent GoM will also have the finance, petroleum & natural gas, coal and power ministers, the deputy chairperson of the Planning Commission and the minister of state for new and renewable energy as its members. The mechanism is part of the integrated energy policy (IEP) approved by the Union Cabinet last Friday, which recognises that India's growth process could be hit due to its growing dependence on energy imports that exposes it to external price shocks.

India imports over 70% of its petroleum requirements. While the IEP envisages exploiting domestic resources to the maximum, it also emphasises the need to cut international supply risks with a slew of unprecedented strategic diplomatic initiatives. This includes building a strategic stockpile of nuclear fuel to counter the risk of disruption of international fuel supply.

"Since 80% of global hydrocarbon reserves are controlled by national oil companies, controlled by respective governments, oil diplomacy establishing bilateral economic, social and cultural ties could reduce supply risk," the policy stresses.

To address global market risks, India would acquire energy assets of coal, oil, gas, uranium and biofuel farms abroad. Energy using industries such as fertiliser plants would also be acquired in energy-rich countries as per the policy, a move strongly endorsed by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee. Building adequate import infrastructure and hard currency reserves to increase the ability to import energy are part of the strategy.

While India intends to build a strategic-cum-buffer stock reserve equivalent to 90 days of oil imports, it is also looking at buying options for emergency supplies from neighbouring countries with large storage capacities such as Singapore. These buffer stocks would be used to curb short-term price volatility in the international markets. Warmer diplomatic ties are imperative if such reserves are to be operated in co-operation with other countries to make them more effective.

As part of the energy policy framework, the government will now have to go through the permanent GoM while acquiring energy assets abroad, as planned under the policy. The GoM will also have the final word while setting up energy using industries such as fertiliser plants in energy-rich countries. While the GoM will take care of these issues, a monitoring committee has been set up under the Cabinet secretary to review the progress on implementing all the facets of the IEP.

This reshaped policy was in operation while reaching out to oil-rich states like Sudan and Venezuela, besides dealing with non-compatible countries like the US and Iran.
 
 
2.  http://www.agrimarket.info/showart.php?id=68774
 

AgriMarket.Info
  Main Page  
 12/26/2008 09:14  

Ministry Cabinet of Ukraine calls to support biofuel production

In order to provide effective functioning of the agro industrial complex the Ministry Cabinet of Ukraine offers to the Ministry of Industrial Policy, the Ministry of Fuel and Energy and the National Agency of effective use of power resources to assist the adoption of the Law of Ukraine "About alteration in several legislative acts of Ukraine considering assistance of production and use of biological types of fuel" in 2009.

The program of governmental activity for overcoming of the consequences of the world financial-economic crisis contains the project.

Besides, in 2009-2012, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy will stimulate production and use of biological types of fuel, development of the national fuel market of through utilization of biomass as amended resource for production of biofuel.

The parliament registered the corresponding project of the decree #1360 on December 23.


© 2001-2003 APK-Inform Information Agency

The above information can be used only with a clear reference to APK-Inform Information Agency, in electronic informational products - with a hyperlink to www.agrimarket.info

bigmir)net TOP 100 Rambler's Top100

 
 
3.  http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/200812250620DOWJONESDJONLINE000370_univ.xml
 
Thai PM:To Promote Alternative Fuels, Continue Nuclear Study12-25-08 6:20 AM EST | E-mail Article | Print Article

BANGKOK -(Dow Jones)- The Thai government is planning to promote the use of alternative fuel, not only to reduce dependency on petroleum fuel but to also help bolster demand for agricultural products, newly appointed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thursday.

The government will initially emphasize the use of E-10 gasohol, gasoline blended with 10% ethanol, and E-20 gasohol, before promoting a higher content of ethanol in gasoline, Abhisit told Dow Jones Newswires.
"We would like to send a clear message (to vehicle manufacturers and motorists) that we will initially focus on promoting E-10 and E-20 to the public. Once this target is achieved, then we will look forward to promoting E- 85, which is our next step," said Abhisit.
The government will continue to campaign for the use of gasohol, or gasoline blended with ethanol, produced from sugar cane and casava root. It will also push for the use of biodiesel, a mix of diesel with biofuel, made from palm oil, he added.
The government will continue to study the potential of nuclear technology development, said Abhisit.
The study will take about three years, before a final decision from the government on whether to push ahead.
-By Phisanu Phromchanya and Supunnabul Suwannakij, Dow Jones Newswires; 662- 266-0744; phisanu.phromchanya@dowjones.com
  (END) Dow Jones Newswires   12-25-080620ET   Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.



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[biofuelwatch] FAO Report: Biofuels take 100 million tons of cereals out of food supplies.



FAO Report: Biofuels take 100 million tons of cereals out of food supplies.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/year-of-the-hungry-1000000000-afflicted-1213843.html

By Geoffrey Lean

Sunday, 28 December 2008


One billion people will go hungry around the globe next year for the first time in human history, as the international financial crisis deepens, the United Nations has told The Independent on Sunday.

The shocking landmark will be passed – despite a second record worldwide harvest in a row – because people are becoming too destitute to buy the food that is produced.

Over the 12 months until last summer, wheat and maize prices more than doubled and rice prices more than tripled. This was due partly to the growth in biofuels which, the FAO reports, has taken over 100 million tons of cereals out of food supplies over the past year to fuel cars instead. One fill of a 4x4's tank uses enough grain to feed one poor person for a year.


Decades of progress in reducing hunger are being abruptly reversed, dealing a devastating blow to a pledge by world leaders eight years ago to cut it in half by 2015.

Rich countries have failed to provide promised money to boost agriculture in the Third World; the financial crisis is starving developing countries of credit and driving their people into greater poverty, and food aid to the starving is expected to begin drying up next month.

Development charities recently called on US president-elect Barack Obama to put the escalating food crisis "front and centre" of his priorities.


Some 963 million people are now undernourished worldwide, according to the most recent survey of the crisis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the UN body expects the situation to worsen with the recession. "The number will rise steadily next year," an FAO spokesman told the IoS last week. "We are looking at a billion people. That is clear." The FAO fears the tally will go on increasing for years to come.


This directly contradicts an undertaking by the world's leaders at a special summit in September 2000 to "reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger" from 1990 levels by 2015, as part of an ambitious set of Millennium Development Goals.

At the time, and for several years afterwards, the goal looked achievable, if challenging.

Between 1990 and 2005 the number of undernourished people stayed more or less the same at between 800 and 850 million, even though world population grew by 1.2 billion, meaning that the proportion of a rapidly increasing humanity that went hungry was steadily falling.


Several countries – including Ghana, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Jamaica and Costa Rica – actually exceeded the target years ahead of time, while others such as Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Mozambique were on track to achieve it. Twenty-five developing nations looked as if they would be able to halve the absolute number of their hungry – not just the proportion of them in their rising populations – by the target date.


But over the past three years that progress has been thrown abruptly into reverse, with the first steep and sustained rise in hunger in decades leaving another 115 million people short of food. The increase began when prosperity was still increasing and has continued despite bumper harvests; a new FAO report shows that this year's grain crop is set to grow by 5.4 per cent to 2,241 million tons, following a 6 per cent rise last year – ahead of population growth.


So the growth in hunger is not occurring, as in the past, because of shortage of food – but because people cannot afford to buy it even when it is plentiful. The main reason has been that high food prices have priced the poor out of the market.


The organisation also blames speculation, population growth, the shrinking of food stocks to record lows and the increasing consumption of meat in developing countries such as China and India, which mops up grain supplies because they are used to feed livestock.

International prices have fallen sharply since the summer, as this year's good harvest has further swelled supplies and the growing financial crisis has cut demand. But the FAO reports that the lower prices have failed to ease the crisis, while the increasing financial turmoil has made it worse.


Developing countries have not benefited from the falling worldwide cost of food, it says, because their currencies have depreciated against the dollar in which international prices are set and their domestic supplies remain scarce, keeping prices in local markets at record levels.


Virtually none of the increased production of the past two years has taken place in the Third World, partly because its farmers have been unable to afford expensive fertilisers and seeds while the profits of giant agrochemical and biotech companies have soared. Now as rich countries' economies slump, they are importing fewer commodities and goods from developing ones, driving national incomes down and increasing unemployment and poverty. As employment falls in the West, Third World immigrants are losing their jobs and are no longer able to send back the money they save from their wages in remittances to their families, a financial boost that is often crucial in keeping them out of dire poverty.


Just as serious, the FAO adds, the credit that Third World farmers need to buy seeds, energy and agricultural chemicals – and to improve production – is drying up.

Aid, too, is falling precipitously. Earlier this month, the World Food Programme – the UN agency that provides food to the hungry – announced that it was running out of supplies. Unless it receives more soon it expects to have to start rationing aid next month, and to run out of food altogether for needy countries such as Haiti, Sudan and Bangladesh by March.


At a special summit in June last year, rich governments pledged $12.3bn (£8.4bn) to tackle the food crisis, but have so far handed over only $1bn of it, as they have scrambled to provide trillions to bail out failing banks.

"Overcoming the financial crisis is critical," concludes the FAO in a recent report, "but continuing the fight against hunger by realising those pledged billions is no less important." Jacques Diouf, the FAO's director general, warns: "Unless the political will and donor pledges are turned into urgent and real actions, millions more will fall into deep poverty."

Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the World Food Programme, added: "While we worry about Wall Street and the high street, we are also paying attention to the needs of those who live in places with no street." She has called on governments to devote just 1 per cent of their bailout and stimulus packages to fighting hunger.


The worst is yet to come, taking the number of hungry beyond the one billion mark. As food prices fall, the FAO is reporting signs that farmers in Europe and North America are reducing their plantings for next year's harvest – and the same thing is likely to happen in the Third World as the lack of credit stops its farmers from being able to buy the food and agricultural chemicals they need. So next year's harvest, it is feared, will be smaller, even if the weather remains good.


The run of good seasons is unlikely to continue for long, even in the short run. And in the medium to long term, climate change is expected to make harvests dramatically worse. Mr Diouf predicts that, if the world fails to take urgent action to keep global warming beneath 2C, the emerging international target, "the global food production potential can be expected to contract severely" – with harvests dropping by up to 40 per cent in Africa, Asia and Latin America.



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Saturday, December 27, 2008

[biofuelwatch] News digest on US ethanol subsidies



Key quotes:
 
From article 1: "The Brazilian and U.S. governments are meanwhile funding research and development projects to spur ethanol startups throughout Latin America, but the financial crisis will inevitably delay private sector investment, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Shafer told The Associated Press."
 
From article 2: "The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Monday that it will give $200 million in grants to build refineries for such advanced biofuels as bio-butanol and cellulosic ethanol."
 
From article 3: " "U.S.-produced biofuel combined with fuel efficiency will allow the nation to meet growing transportation energy needs without increasing imports of oil. That is a surprising conclusion from the Energy Information Administration...";
 
" "There are more than 30 existing and planned cellulosic biorefineries set to begin production of advanced biofuels in the next few years."
 
 
1.  http://www.hpj.com/archives/2008/dec08/dec29/Brazilsonceboomingethanolse.cfm
 

Brazil's once booming ethanol sector hits brakes

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP)--Brazil's biofuel industry just months ago was being flooded with billions in new investments for vast new sugarcane plantations and gleaming distilleries that churn out the cheapest ethanol on earth.
But the global financial crisis has put the brakes on that boom, drying up foreign investment and domestic credit, stalling new projects and prompting cash-strapped ethanol producers to indefinitely postpone expansions.
"I'm still ready to play ball, but the ball disappeared," said former Brazilian Agriculture Minister Robert Rodrigues, whose plans for an ethanol startup were recently put on hold as foreign investors withdrew cash amid fears that a global recession would slow demand for fuel.
Heavily leveraged small and mid-sized ethanol operations are likely to be bought out by their larger counterparts, if emergency credit lines from state-owned banks aren't enough to stave off crushing debt obligations, participants at a biofuels conference in Sao Paulo in mid-November said.
One large ethanol maker filed for bankruptcy recently to restructure $100 million in debt it could not pay. Analysts and sugarcane growers predict others will follow, and a leading industry association says 50 percent of new equipment orders have been canceled or postponed.
"We're going to see more bankruptcies," said Eduardo Carvalho, director of the ethanol and sugar unit of conglomerate Odebrecht SA, one of Brazil's biggest companies.
Some $30 billion to $40 billion in investment that was expected in the industry over the next four years will be slashed, Marcus Jank, president of Brazil's powerful Sugar Cane Producers Association, said without giving details.
Brazil's biofuel industry, born in the 1970s and concentrated in sugarcane-rich Sao Paulo state, has long been considered a global model, and its method of producing ethanol from sugarcane is cheaper and more efficient than rivals, including the U.S., who use corn.
John Melo, chief executive of U.S.-based Amyris Biotechnologies, said Brazil's ethanol industry will survive because of strong domestic demand and because international demand for cheap renewable fuels will rebound with oil prices.
Amyris has teamed with Brazilian producers in a joint venture that could produce 1 billion gallons of sugarcane-diesel a year by 2015.
The Brazilian and U.S. governments are meanwhile funding research and development projects to spur ethanol startups throughout Latin America, but the financial crisis will inevitably delay private sector investment, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Shafer told The Associated Press.
Most new sugarcane mills cost about $200 million, and crush as much as 2 million metric tons of cane a year, producing up to 160 million liters of ethanol.
The full extent of the damage to one of Brazil's most promising export industries is still unknown: The sector is dominated by private companies owned by wealthy families who have attracted foreign partners but are not required to report their finances publicly.
But no one expects Brazil to lose its place as the world's biggest ethanol exporter and second largest producer after the U.S.--where industry losses appear even more severe.
With oil below $50 per barrel, down more than 60 percent since July, biofuels have become less competitive. But U.S.-made corn ethanol is more expensive than Brazil's sugarcane-based fuel: Oil must top $50 a barrel for it to be cheaper than gasoline. In contrast, Brazilian ethanol kingpins insist, their fuel is competitive as long as oil sells for more than $40 a barrel.
Brazil's strong domestic market will soften any blow to the industry if global demand for ethanol falls. The country started manufacturing ethanol-only cars in the 1970s, and "flex fuel" cars introduced in 2004--which run on ethanol, gasoline or any combination of the two--now make up nearly nine of every 10 cars sold.
And because state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA sets gasoline prices, ethanol in Brazil typically sells for nearly half the price of gas, making filling up a no-brainer.
"The only thing that could kill the sector would be the suspension of flex-fuel car production, and that won't happen," said Christoph Berg, managing director at German commodities research firm F.O. Licht.
Investment could rebound if long-disputed U.S. and European tariffs on Brazilian ethanol are eliminated--but that doesn't seem likely anytime soon.
European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said he anticipates no cuts to the EU's 0.19-euro-per-liter tariff, barring a breakthrough in the so-called Doha Round of trade talks by the World Trade Organization.
And U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has in the past suggested he opposed eliminating the United States' $0.53 per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol.
"As it relates to our country's drive toward energy independence, it does not serve our national and economic security to replace imported oil with Brazilian ethanol," Obama said on the Senate floor last year.

None\0-
Date: 12/19/08
 
 
2.  http://www.redherring.com/home/25685
 

Energy Dept. Pumps $200M Into Biofuels


The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Monday that it will give $200 million in grants to build refineries for such advanced biofuels as bio-butanol and cellulosic ethanol.

The funding is intended to be used to help speed up commercialization of cleaner, alternative transportation fuels, which use renewable biomass such as fast growing grasses and trees as feedstocks.

The grants are meant to help finance construction of biorefineries in pilot or demonstration mode that could lead to commercialization in the "near term." The financing will be available over six years, beginning in 2009.

The announcement comes just weeks before the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 goes into effect. Beginning in 2009, the legislation mandates the increasing use of renewable biofuel, from 10.5 billion gallons in 2009 to 36 billion in 2022. The act also requires by 2022 that 21 billion gallons of that total be so-called advanced biofuels, the kind targeted in this funding.
 
 
3.  http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/553688
 


Annual Energy Outlook Confirms That Biofuels Will Increase U.S. Energy Independence

Biotechnology Industry Organization

Release date: December 19, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Friday, December 19, 2008) - Increasing domestic production of advanced biofuels to meet or exceed the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard can significantly reduce U.S. reliance on petroleum. Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization's Industrial & Environmental Section, today released comments on the Energy Information Administration's 2009 Annual Energy Outlook:

"U.S.-produced biofuel combined with fuel efficiency will allow the nation to meet growing transportation energy needs without increasing imports of oil. That is a surprising conclusion from the Energy Information Administration, whose Annual Energy Outlook projections use the most conservative assumptions. The current projection demonstrates that if the United States were to meet or exceed the targets set in the Renewable Fuel Standard, we could begin to decrease our reliance on all petroleum, create jobs and boost rural economies, and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"There are more than 30 existing and planned cellulosic biorefineries set to begin production of advanced biofuels in the next few years. Many other projects and promising technologies are on the drawing board. These pioneer cellulosic biofuel facilities will prove that the technology works and that the industry can meet the goals established in the Renewable Fuel Standard. With oil prices set to rise again, per the projections, the need for domestically produced advanced biofuels should remain a priority for U.S. policymakers and consumers."

A map of these cellulosic biofuel facilities is available on the web at http://biofuelsandclimate.wordpress.com/about/.

The Advanced Biofuels & Climate Change Information Center presents the latest commentary and data on the environmental, greenhouse gas and other impacts of biofuel production. Drop in and add your comments, at http://biofuelsandclimate.wordpress.com/.

 
[Excerpt]
 
 
4.  http://www.redherring.com/home/25682
 

U.S. Biofuel Output to Miss Mandates


A January deadline looms for a U.S. law that will go into effect requiring the use of advanced biofuels, but producers of cellulosic biofuel are not on track to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard until 2012, and the shortfall  will likely drive up the price of the fuel, according to a report.

The report published last week by investment bank ThinkEquity forecasts that in 2010 the U.S. will produce no more than 28.5 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, or 81.5 million gallons short of the RFS mandate.

"I think the industry will be playing catch up to the RFS for a number of years," said David Woodburn, the ThinkEquity analyst who wrote the report.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 calls for the U.S. fuel market to use 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel in 2010, increasing rapidly to 16 billion gallons per year by 2022.


Mr. Woodburn estimates that cellulosic biofuel production will sharply increase by 2011 and be just shy of the 250 million gallons required that year. But he cautioned that his figures are best-case scenarios based on capacities of plants that are not yet built. It can take months or years before a facility reaches full capacity even after it has come online. And there are currently no cellulosic biofuel plants in commercial production.

But dozens of startups and established ethanol makers with millions of dollars in venture backing and other financing are racing to develop cellulosic biofuel. The hope is that the next-generation fuel—which is made from fast growing grass, agricultural waste and other biomass sources—eventually will be cheaper and cleaner than gasoline while not depending on food crops, like corn, as a feedstock.

Broomfield, Colorado-based Range Fuels' 10 million gallon-per-year facility, scheduled to open in late 2009 or early 2010, is likely to be the first commercial  cellulosic plant, according to the report. Other large cellulosic plants that should come online by 2011: Sioux Falls, S.D.-based POET's 25 million GPY plant and Cambridge, Mass.-based Verenium's 36 million GPY plant.

But the near-term shortfall could work in the fledgling industry's favor. Because of a little-known rule adopted as part of the RFS, the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to require fuel retailers to buy credits to make up the difference between cellulosic biofuel production and the mandated volumes. This is the government's "stick" for forcing demand for the fuel.

The credits will be sold for up to $3 per gallon, depending on the price of gasoline. The higher the price of gasoline, the cheaper the credits, and vice versa. What that means, said Mr. Woodburn, is that if there is a shortfall of cellulosic biofuel, the price of the fuel should be driven up to close to $3 per gallon—or the point at which retailers would break even between buying credits or buying the fuel on the open market.

The government, in effect, has created a minimum price for cellulosic biofuel through to 2022 as long as there is a production shortfall.

Future contracts for ethanol, the dominant biofuel in the market today, currently trade at about $1.50 per gallon. As long as cellulosic ethanol production is at or below the RFS mandates, at current prices producers could sell the fuel for nearly twice as much as their corn-based competitors.

That's good news for a young industry that could use the breathing room as it ramps up production, improves its technology, and decreases costs.

But the credits and even the RFS mandates can be changed on a yearly basis at the discretion of the EPA. Because of that lack of certainty, Jim Imbler, chief executive of biofuel startup ZeaChem in Colorado, said the $3 price isn't driving his company to move more aggressively into the market.

"If I move on an option, then I'm a gambler," Mr. Imbler said.

The company's goal is to produce cellulosic ethanol for less than $1 per gallon. ZeaChem is building a 1.5 million GPY pilot plant in Oregon to begin production in early 2009.

"We're on a path that may not meet government mandates but that does meet economic realities," Mr. Imbler said.

Industry observers believe cellulosic biofuel will need to drop below $1 per gallon to be cost competitive with gasoline, which currently sells on wholesale markets for about that price. But the cost of the fossil fuel has dramatically declined recently, dropping below $50 per barrel this month from a high of $150 in the summer.

Wes Bolsen, VP of business development for Coskata, a cellulosic biofuel startup in Illinois, said his only worry is that the shortfall could lead people to call for removing the RFS mandates.

"We cannot lose our resolve because the industry is in its infancy," he said. "Even if we're 50 million gallons short, that is one-half of a corn ethanol plant."

Corn ethanol plants have capacities as high as 250 million gallons per year, with the average being about 100 million in the United States. But if cellulosic biofuel producers are going to meet the 16 billion GPY mandate by 2022, they'll need more than just one of those corn ethanol-sized plants.

 
 
5.  http://www.nilesstar.com/articles/2008/12/25/news/ndnews4.txt
 

Governor advances state's efforts for renewable fuels

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 10:30 AM EST

LANSING - Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation that will advance the state's efforts to expand the production and use of renewable fuels in Michigan.


The 11 bills were part of a series of recommendations from the state's Renewable Fuels Commission, established in 2006.

The legislation includes five additional renewable energy renaissance zones, creation of a Renewable Fuels Fund to promote the production and use of alternative fuels and new tax incentives for the purchase of equipment capable of harvesting biomass and the conversion of existing gasoline pumps to pumps capable of delivering ethanol, biodiesel or other forms of renewable fuels.

"Michigan is committed to leading this nation to energy independence, and to meet that goal, we must foster renewable fuel research, production and use across our state," Granholm said.

"This legislation will make Michigan even more attractive to renewable fuel producers looking to grow their businesses and create jobs."

Public Act 329 of 2008, sponsored by Rep. Frank Accavitti, D-Eastpointe, adds five additional renewable fuels renaissance zones in Michigan, bringing the total to 15.

Renaissance zones are specific geographic areas designated as tax exempt to encourage economic development.

Additionally, the new law requires that five of the state's renewable fuels renaissance zones be designated for facilities that focus primarily on cellulosic biofuel production.

Public Acts 314, 332 and 334 of 2008 create tax incentives for the use of agricultural machinery that can harvest both grain and biomass.

 

These bills encourage farmers to invest in equipment that will allow them to harvest their crops while also collecting biomass residue from the crop or grain that can be used in alternative fuel production.

The bills were sponsored by Rep. Paul Condino, D-Southfield, Sen. Patty Birkholz, R-Saugatuck, and Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, respectively.

"The next generation of alternative fuel will be produced from non-food sources like wood waste, switchgrass, algae or other waste products," said Granholm. "Creating incentives to help insure that the research and production of these next-generation fuels are done here in Michigan will help insure that the jobs created are here, too."

Public Acts 321 and 322 of 2008, sponsored by Sen. Cameron Brown, R-Fawn River Township, and Michael Switalski, D-Roseville, respectively, create a new Renewable Fuels Fund to promote the production and use of alternative fuels in Michigan.

Citizens will have the option to contribute to the fund through a new check off on the state income tax form.

Also signed by the governor were the following acts:

€ Public Act 313 of 2008, sponsored by Rep. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, which requires the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) to develop rules regulating the quality and purity of biodiesel;

€ Public Act 335 of 2008, sponsored by Rep. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch, which provides a Michigan Business Tax credit for gas stations that convert existing gasoline pumps to biofuels pumps

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6.  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20081222/BUSINESS/812220330/1001/

 

Plunging profits trump ethanol's previous fears

 

Experience is said to be a hard teacher, and the ethanol industry has learned some painful new lessons in the last half-year.

Ethanol producers now know that when corn prices fall, the prices of crude oil and ethanol decline as well. So ethanol producers' gains on the cost side will be checkmated by losses on the revenue side.

The result has been the bankruptcy and closing of three of Iowa's 32 ethanol plants. The industry's old worries of being political targets in environmental- and food-versus-fuel debates has been replaced by a more pressing issue, making a profit and staying in business.
The situation might get worse before it gets better.

"These are frustrating times for the industry, and we may see a few more plants close while the market finds equilibrium," said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He acknowledged that "the industry probably overbuilt itself."

VeraSun's facilities in Albert City and Dyersville, and Pine Lake Corn Processors of Steamboat Rock have all closed in the past few months.
But Shaw adds: "The idea that ethanol is on a death spiral is ridiculous. More ethanol will be produced next year than this year (because of a 1.5-billion- gallon increase in the federal mandate) and we'll need producers to get the job done."


Ethanol's problem: The numbers don't add up

The precipitous fall in the price of feedstock corn from $8 per bushel in July to $3.60 this week should be a boon to ethanol producers. But the price of ethanol has staged a corresponding swoon, dropping from $2.90 per gallon in the summer to $1.60 per gallon at present.
Ethanol has fallen in price in tandem with crude oil's $100 per barrel plunge from its summertime high for the same reason - declining demand due to the worldwide economic contraction and the flight of speculative hedge funds from the agriculture and energy commodity markets.

"We could make money when corn was $8 and ethanol was $2.90 per gallon," Shaw said. "But what happened was that while plants contracted into forward months for their corn supply, the oil companies won't let them do similar sales into future months. So the plants are having to sell lower-priced ethanol while using more expensive corn."
Ethanol profit margins have declined from 31 cents per gallon this summer to just 3 cents per gallon in November, according to research by Don Hofstrand of Iowa State University Extension Services. The $2-per-gallon profit margin ethanol plants enjoyed in their halcyon days of mid-2006, when ethanol was the golden child of renewable biofuels, seems like a long-ago era.

At present, ethanol doesn't have the comfort of seeing demand for its bankrupt assets. A Wichita, Kan., plant that went bankrupt attracted just a single auction bidder - the bank that held its secured debt.
Another bankrupt ethanol plant in Ohio was put on the block and failed to attract a single bid. VeraSun said after its Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing that it had received an unsolicited offer for some of its assets - this after rival producer Poet said it would be interested in acquisitions - but nothing more has been said on the subject in the last month.


Ethanol industry takes its case to Washington

The Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol's largest trade group, has approached lawmakers and President-elect Barack Obama's transition team with several proposals for aid to the ethanol industry, including $1 billion in short-term credit to help plants stay in operation and $50 billion in loan guarantees to finance further expansion of the industry.
The RFA as well as a rival industry group, Growth Energy, want the federal government to ease restrictions on how much ethanol can be added to gasoline for conventional cars and trucks.

The current limit, set by the Environmental Protection Agency, is 10 percent. Shaw, of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said the blend ratio could be raised safely to 15 percent and maybe up to 30 percent using existing car engines.

But federal officials say more study is needed of the impact of ethanol on engines before the 10-percent limit is changed. Given that ethanol producers benefit from a usage mandate (which will rise from 9 billion gallons this year to 10.5 billion gallons in 2009), tax subsidy and tariff on imported ethanol, the industry will face strong resistance from cattle and poultry interests and from environmentalists to getting additional aid.
One of the ethanol industry's most powerful allies in Congress, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia., said the biofuel industry should focus on preserving its existing incentives.


Current corn prices too low for farmers

The ethanol industry thinks it has winners in Obama and Tom Vilsack, his agriculture secretary designate, both with long records supporting ethanol. But even the combined efforts of that soon-to-be-powerful duo won't solve short-term problems that Iowa ethanol plants face.
In the aftermath of its bankruptcy, VeraSun asked for, and received, permission from the Delaware bankruptcy court to void future corn purchase contracts priced above market values.

Ethanol plants now face more questions and scrutiny from farmers about their future before they can buy corn.

Beyond the credibility issue, low corn prices have made purchases difficult because most Iowa farmers need at least $4 per bushel to meet the input costs for the recently harvested crop, and are disinclined to sell corn at the prevailing Iowa cash prices of $3.50.
Bruce Rastetter, chairman of Hawkeye Renewables of Ames, says his four plants "are operating all right. But buying corn is tough."

Shaw says "every ethanol plant has had trouble contracting for corn."

Ethanol's problems might be worse were it not for distiller's grains, the protein by-product of ethanol production that plants sell as cattle feed.

The typical Iowa ethanol plant can count on distiller's grains for up to one-third of its revenues and an even larger chunk of its profits. But distiller's grain, like corn itself, has declined in value from a peak of around $180 per ton in midsummer to about $110 per ton this month.


[Ends]

 

 



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Friday, December 26, 2008

[biofuelwatch] Factory farming and agrofuels blamed for rise in EU's 'footprint'



From 28/11/08:
 
http://www.foeeurope.org/press/2008/Nov28_New_research_reveals_European_land_grab_in_developing_countries.html
 


    European Coordination
          Via Campesina

Press Release

28 November 2008
For immediate release

More information about the Friends of the Earth Europe Agrofuels campaign

 

Factory farming and agrofuels blamed for rise in EU's 'footprint'

Brussels, 28 November 2008 - New research published today reveals that the increasing demand for animal feed and agrofuels in the European Union is resulting in the loss of unique forests, serious climate emissions and rural conflict in developing countries [1]. The EU now uses over 16 million hectares of farmland every year to feed its livestock and increasingly to fuel its cars - an area equivalent to the combined arable farmland in Germany and Hungary. Most of the land needed is in South America.

The research reveals that the largest user of land is soy - imported to Europe primarily as animal feed but increasingly used to produce agrofuels (also known as biofuels). Soy production is one of the biggest drivers of deforestation in South America and is associated with widespread environmental degradation, increased pesticide use, violence and human rights abuses of local communities and farmers. European consumers are kept in the dark about the fact that much of this soy is genetically modified (GM) as current labelling laws do not apply to products from animals fed with GM crops.

The findings of the research also highlight that:

- People living in Cyprus, Spain and Denmark eat the most animal products. They permanently use 340, 253, 243 square metres abroad per person respectively just for the production of the soy which is fed to their farm animals.
- Germany, France and the UK together need 4.5 million hectares to grow soy to maintain their current diets.
- The main crop used for biodiesel in Europe is oilseed rape (56 per cent) which needs over two million hectares of agricultural land, followed by soy oil (17 per cent) and palm oil (7 per cent). Germany uses 3800 million litres of biodiesel, almost the equivalent to the rest of the EU put together.

Friends of the Earth and the European Coordination Via Campesina believe that if the EU is serious about addressing climate change, the global loss of biodiversity, human rights, and dealing with the food crisis it must urgently reduce its dependence on imports of soy and halt the use of crops to produce industrial agrofuels.

Adrian Bebb, from the Friends of the Earth Europe's food and biodiversity programme said: "Europe's appetite for meat, milk and eggs, together with the growing demand for agrofuels, is having a massive impact in developing countries. Agriculture in these countries is expanding to meet European markets at the expense of forests, rural communities and the climate."

Gérard Choplin, from the European Coordination Via Campesina said: "Animal factory farming in Europe is unsustainable and cannot survive without cheap imports of soy grown in the South. Agriculture and trade policies in Europe should be changed to allow European farmers to grow more animal feed themselves and to support environmentally friendly family farms."

***

Contacts:

Adrian Bebb, Agrofuels Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Europe, Tel: +49 1609 490 1163 (German mobile), adrian.bebb[at]foeeurope.org

Gérard Choplin, European Coordination Via Campesina, Tel: +32 2 2173112, gerard.choplin[at]eurovia.org

Francesca Gater, Communications Officer, Friends of the Earth Europe, Tel: + 32 2 542 61 05 or +32 485 930515 (Belgian mobile), francesca.gater[at]foeeurope.org

***

NOTES:

[1] A comprehensive media briefing and also the research can be downloaded here.

 

 



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