Saturday, September 29, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Are biofuelwatch aware of the following consultation?





Are biofuelwatch aware of the following consultation? Deadline 16 October 2012. May be biofuelwatch could issue a list of pointers/educational bullet points/points for debate for members of the public on how to respond?
http://ec.europa.eu/clima/
consultations/0016/index_en.htm



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Friday, September 28, 2012

[biofuelwatch] FT letter: Land scramble jeopardises years of agricultural investment - FT.com





http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e4389d42-07db-11e2-8354-00144feabdc0.html

Letter from Kenya Oxfam director in today's FT.  Land over size of Kenya land-grabbed in Africa over last 10 years. 

Finishes saying ....

A starting point for African and European governments is to implement the UN guidelines on land tenure and land rights agreed in May this year. Failure to do this jeopardises a decade of agricultural investment and risks another decade of dependency on food relief.

Irungu Houghton, Pan-Africa Director, Oxfam, Nairobi, Kenya




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[biofuelwatch] UK food prices rise at twice EU average





In discussing the causes of the overall rises, none of the following articles mentions biofuels, and only the Daily Express refers to increased animal protein consumption in the developing world.

Weekly family food bill tops £77 a week as food prices in Britain soar ...

Daily Mail-6 hours ago
Figures compiled by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show the rise in food prices since 2007 in Britain is far ...

Misery for households as food prices soar at twice the EU average

Telegraph.co.uk-27 Sep 2012
DEFRA said that the rise of almost a third in UK food prices since 2007 compares to increases in France and Germany of just 12 per cent and ...



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[biofuelwatch] Please tell W4B's new owners to drop palm oil power station plans





In 2010 and 2011 respectively, biofuel company W4B got planning permission to build two biofuel  power stations in Portland and Bristol in which they expected to burn palm oil.  In both places, planning permission was granted against strong local and national opposition.  In Bristol, the City Council had rejected the application because they viewed it as incompatible with commitments to sustainability and mitigating climate change, however the Secretary of State overruled their decision on Appeal.  Neither power station has been built yet.

Recently, W4B was taken over by another UK company, Peak Gen Holdings (based in Leamington Spa), who are backed by the investment company Pioneer Point Partners.  Peak Gen has failed to answer questions from campaigners as to whether they intend to go ahead with W4B's palm oil power station plans in Portland and Bristol.

If both power stations were built, they would almost quadruple the UK's use of palm oil in biofuels, at a high cost to tropical forests, climate and communities.

Please go to www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2012/peakgen-alert/ to find out more and to call on W4B's new owners to publicly abandon the biofuel power station plans for Bristol and Portland and please let others know about this alert, too.  Many thanks.  


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

[biofuelwatch] "All the biofuels share one set of fundamental problems"



http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/biofuel-startups-turn-cosmetics-supplements-profits-18156

Biofuel startups turn to cosmetics, supplements for profits
Print September 27, 2012 | Tia Ghose, California Watch

Oleksii Sagitov/Shutterstock
Once a promising source of green energy, high-tech biofuel is being eclipsed by skin cream and food products as manufacturers shift to more lucrative products.

After Congress enacted a renewable fuel standard in 2005, more than a dozen Bay Area companies joined the race to design new biofuels. The idea was to use genetically engineered microorganisms or other novel techniques to convert renewable crops into fuel with half the carbon emissions of gasoline.

So far, however, the push to use new technology to make advanced biofuel has fallen short. None of the Bay Area startups have produced commercially significant amounts of the high-tech fuels, industry members say, and some have begun focusing on other products, such as cosmetics and health supplements.

"All the biofuels share one set of fundamental problems, which is you've got to use resources to grow those biofuels," said Dave Jones, chief operating officer of LiveFuels, a San Carlos company that extracts oils from algae. "The cost is quite high. You are spending $5 to make a $3 gallon of gas."

Private investors have poured at least $4 billion into the advanced biofuels industry since 2008, according to a report [PDF] this month from Environmental Entrepreneurs, an environmental business organization. The federal government also has awarded grants and loan guarantees of more than $1.7 billion since 2008, according to the report.

But while simpler biofuels such as sugar cane ethanol or vegetable oil biodiesel have ramped up, newer technologies are lagging behind, said Heather Youngs, an analyst at the Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley. The delay is a result of the stubbornly high cost of production, industry members and analysts say.

The story of LiveFuels illustrates the shift. The company initially planned to make biofuel by raising fish and growing algae. The fish would eat the oil-rich algae, and the company would then extract oil from the fish. But the company quickly realized it could make more money by turning the algae and fish into other products, including omega-3 fish oil supplements and fishmeal.

"We realized early on that it was just too expensive to grow fuel," Jones said. "There are so many more important things to do with that oil than burn it."

Another company that switched its focus was Aurora Biofuels of Hayward. It formally changed its name in 2010 to Aurora Algae after it cut back on biofuel research and began making nutritional supplements and fishmeal.

Similarly, South San Francisco-based Solazyme originally set out to produce fuel from genetically engineered algae but soon found its algae could be used to make other more profitable products, such as anti-wrinkle creams. It also produces low-calorie substitutes for flour, butter and eggs, said Bob Ames, vice president of fuels commercialization.

"You end up seeing a nutritional profile that has less calories, less fat, less cholesterol," he said.

Meanwhile in Emeryville, Amyris (formerly known as Amyris Biotechnologies), which produces oils from yeast fermentation of sugars, has scaled back its biodiesel production, CEO John Melo said in a May investor conference call. Among the company's products is squalane, a high-end skin softener historically extracted from shark livers or olive oil.

Two other companies also have shifted their focus from high-tech biofuels to other products. South San Francisco-based LS9 recently started production of chemicals for consumer and industrial detergents, and Cobalt Technologies in Mountain View now makes chemicals for glue, ink and industrial solvents.

At the root of this trend is a financial reality.

"The cost for production of those fuels right now is just too high," Youngs said.

The raw materials, such as algae, water or cane sugar, cost more than $4 per gallon of fuel created, even before factoring in the costs to transform those materials into oil, said Jones, of LiveFuels.

To lower production costs, companies also must dramatically scale up operations, Youngs said. Commercial factories typically cost between $100 million and $500 million, she said.

For an untested technology, that can be a tough sell for investors, Youngs said. Some companies have found financing through partnerships with larger companies or by taking advantage of loan guarantees from the government, she said.

But focusing on pricey, small-volume products can provide dearly needed revenue as companies try to lower costs and scale up production of fuels, she said.

"Companies like Solazyme are able to sell skin cream for $90 an ounce," she said. That strategy, while smart, is only a temporary solution, she said. "They can only do this for a limited time before they glut the market."

But there is hope that some high-tech biofuels might be getting off the ground. In August, San Diego's Sapphire Energy opened its commercial algae-to-crude oil factory in New Mexico, which could produce up to 1.5 million gallons per year.

Solazyme recently broke ground on a commercial factory in Brazil that could produce 30 million gallons of oil a year, Ames said. In July, Amyris signed a three-year contract worth $82 million to develop jet fuels and biodiesel.

The success of the industry hinges on these first commercial projects, Youngs said. And if companies can't make cheap biofuels, some might wind up permanently focusing on skin cream and health supplements. That would be a huge disappointment, she said.

"That wasn't the original goal," she said, "and those companies would not have been able to get the kind of funding they did if that was their original stated goal."

.



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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Thailand: Network calls for controls on biomass power plants



www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/314226/network-calls-for-controls-on-biomass-power-plants

Network calls for controls on biomass power plants
Published: 27/09/2012

A local health promotion network has urged the government to impose tight controls on the growing number of biomass power projects.

Many of these projects have reduced their generating capacity to avoid being forced to conduct environmental impact studies, it said.

Northeastern Thailand Development Foundation (Net) manager Wichitra Chusakul yesterday said the power projects have tried to bring down their power generating capacities to no more than 9.9 megawatts (MW).

If these projects' production capacities reach 10MW, then they are required by law to undergo environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies.

"The problem is that there is not only one such power project in each community, but several," Ms Wichitra said.

In Roi Et province, residents in a tambon have been suffering respiratory problems caused by three biomass power projects, she said.

Raw materials for biomass power projects include wood chips, sugar cane, rice-husk ash, farm waste and even pig excrement.Ms Wichitra pointed to a case in Surin province where a study found that raw material found in the province can produce only 100MW. But there are more than 10 small biomass power plants with total production capacity of 120MW seeking power plant licences.

National Health Commission member Narongsakdi Aungkasuvapala said the country produces 49 billion tonnes of waste from crops a year, which could be turned into a potential power supply of 3,000MW or half of the amount consumed in the country each year.

"We can't deny that the biomass power plant is the country's important alternative source of power. But the problem is that we don't have enough clean technology for them," he said.

In Thailand, there are only two power plants that use complete combustion technology, compared with a total of 84 plants nationwide, he said.

The government has set a goal for alternative energy production of 25% of total power capacity.

Currently, there are only 84 biomass power plants with a combined capacity of 1,397 MW, or only 9.7% of total power production.

However, 309 micro and small biomass power plants with 2,900MW are in the process of having their licences approved. Worse than that, 205 of them have less than 9MW to 9.9MW of capacity.

Dr Narongsakdi said that medical records from one community that is suffering from particles from a biomass power plant have shown that 34% of the residents are ill with respiratory problems, which is a significant warning sign for policy makers.

It has been estimated that 1KW of power from a biomass power plant generates 30mg to 80mg of particles.

Fine particulate dust matter with a size of less than 10 microns has been found to lead to respiratory diseases and lung cancer.



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[biofuelwatch] Re: [biomass action network] PQ: UK Govt data on cost per mW WITHOUT SUBSIDY for various energy sources including biomass





The PQ answer didn't reproduce all the figures in the report.  Levelised figures don't appear to be given for AD, but capital and operating cost assumptions are at page 168 (PDF page numbers) of the DECC report gives figures for AD CHP, and page 158 for AD.
http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf

Biomass seems to come out more expensive than most wind too if I am reading the figures correctly (which is why I thought they were interesting).

Any economists on the lists who can clarify further?

Best regards, Andrew



On 26 September 2012 18:19, SKRYTEK CA <screaming.thea@ntlworld.com> wrote:
thanks Andrew - where are the figures for AD -  I think  DEFRA recently reported that large-scale AD subsidies would end up being more expensive than wind

On 25 September 2012 16:55, Andrew Boswell <andrewboswell@fastmail.co.uk> wrote:
Data in Annex D of http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-09-24a.242.3&s=biomass#g242.5

Energy: Electricity
House of Lords

Photo of Lord Moonie

Lord Moonie (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the average costs without subsidies used for planning purposes per megawatt hour of electricity generated from (1) existing, and (2) new, (a) nuclear power stations, (b) onshore wind farms, (c) offshore wind farms, (d) gas-fired power stations, (e) coal-fired power stations, and (f) bio-mass fired power stations.

Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat)

DECC has published estimates of the future costs of various generation technologies on the DECC website. The most recent estimates can be found in the reports highlighted below:

Annex D of the 'Government response to the consultation on proposals for the levels of banded support under the Renewables Obligation for the period 2013-17 and the Renewables Obligation Order 2012' contains the latest levelised cost estimates for selected renewable technologies: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf ;a report by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) (2011) contains the latest levelised cost estimates for selected non-renewable technologies: www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/about us/economics-social-research/2127-electricity-generation-cost-model-2011.pdf.

For ease of reference, Table I below replicates levelised cost estimates for projects starting in 2011 and 2017 for selected technologies using a simplified assumption of 10% discount rate across technologies to aid high level comparison between technologies.

Table 1: Indicative Levelised Cost Estimates for Selected Electricity Generation Technologies

2010 prices Source Projects starting in 2011, £/MWh Projects starting in 2017, £/MWh
CCGT PB Power (2011) 77 88
Coal 95 117
Nuclear 74 65
Onshore Wind>5 MW* RO Banding Review Government response (2012) 101 98
Offshore R2 Wind 126 115
Offshore R3 146 130
Dedicated Biomass >50MW 118 117
Dedicated Biomass (0-50MW) 113 112

NB: All estimates are for 'Nth of a Kind' (NOAK) projects except nuclear where the first estimate for projects starting in 2011 is based on 'first of a kind' estimate and the estimate for projects starting in 2017 is based on a 'nth of a kind' estimate. *The estimate for onshore wind is for England and Wales only. Cost estimates for RO Banding review (2012) are in £2010/11 financial year prices.

These levelised costs estimates are highly sensitive to the assumptions used including those on discount rates (for simplicity the table above uses the same discount rate for all technologies as opposed to technology specific discount rates), capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, and load factor. It should be noted that the estimates shown above are indicative estimates of levelised costs and given the uncertainties it is often more appropriate to consider a range of cost estimates.

DECC does not have estimates for the average costs per megawatt hour of electricity generated from existing stations.






--
Andrew
Councillor Andrew Boswell
Green Party County Councillor for Nelson ward
Tw: andrew9boswell  E: andrewboswell@fastmail.co.uk;  Te: 01603-613798, M 07787127881





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[biofuelwatch] Re: [biomass action network] PQ: UK Govt data on cost per mW WITHOUT SUBSIDY for various energy sources including biomass





thanks Andrew - where are the figures for AD -  I think  DEFRA recently reported that large-scale AD subsidies would end up being more expensive than wind

On 25 September 2012 16:55, Andrew Boswell <andrewboswell@fastmail.co.uk> wrote:
Data in Annex D of http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-09-24a.242.3&s=biomass#g242.5

Energy: Electricity
House of Lords

Photo of Lord Moonie

Lord Moonie (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the average costs without subsidies used for planning purposes per megawatt hour of electricity generated from (1) existing, and (2) new, (a) nuclear power stations, (b) onshore wind farms, (c) offshore wind farms, (d) gas-fired power stations, (e) coal-fired power stations, and (f) bio-mass fired power stations.

Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat)

DECC has published estimates of the future costs of various generation technologies on the DECC website. The most recent estimates can be found in the reports highlighted below:

Annex D of the 'Government response to the consultation on proposals for the levels of banded support under the Renewables Obligation for the period 2013-17 and the Renewables Obligation Order 2012' contains the latest levelised cost estimates for selected renewable technologies: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf ;a report by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) (2011) contains the latest levelised cost estimates for selected non-renewable technologies: www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/about us/economics-social-research/2127-electricity-generation-cost-model-2011.pdf.

For ease of reference, Table I below replicates levelised cost estimates for projects starting in 2011 and 2017 for selected technologies using a simplified assumption of 10% discount rate across technologies to aid high level comparison between technologies.

Table 1: Indicative Levelised Cost Estimates for Selected Electricity Generation Technologies

2010 prices Source Projects starting in 2011, £/MWh Projects starting in 2017, £/MWh
CCGT PB Power (2011) 77 88
Coal 95 117
Nuclear 74 65
Onshore Wind>5 MW* RO Banding Review Government response (2012) 101 98
Offshore R2 Wind 126 115
Offshore R3 146 130
Dedicated Biomass >50MW 118 117
Dedicated Biomass (0-50MW) 113 112

NB: All estimates are for 'Nth of a Kind' (NOAK) projects except nuclear where the first estimate for projects starting in 2011 is based on 'first of a kind' estimate and the estimate for projects starting in 2017 is based on a 'nth of a kind' estimate. *The estimate for onshore wind is for England and Wales only. Cost estimates for RO Banding review (2012) are in £2010/11 financial year prices.

These levelised costs estimates are highly sensitive to the assumptions used including those on discount rates (for simplicity the table above uses the same discount rate for all technologies as opposed to technology specific discount rates), capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, and load factor. It should be noted that the estimates shown above are indicative estimates of levelised costs and given the uncertainties it is often more appropriate to consider a range of cost estimates.

DECC does not have estimates for the average costs per megawatt hour of electricity generated from existing stations.





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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[biofuelwatch] PQ: UK Govt data on cost per mW WITHOUT SUBSIDY for various energy sources including biomass





Data in Annex D of http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-09-24a.242.3&s=biomass#g242.5

Energy: Electricity
House of Lords

Photo of Lord Moonie

Lord Moonie (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the average costs without subsidies used for planning purposes per megawatt hour of electricity generated from (1) existing, and (2) new, (a) nuclear power stations, (b) onshore wind farms, (c) offshore wind farms, (d) gas-fired power stations, (e) coal-fired power stations, and (f) bio-mass fired power stations.

Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat)

DECC has published estimates of the future costs of various generation technologies on the DECC website. The most recent estimates can be found in the reports highlighted below:

Annex D of the 'Government response to the consultation on proposals for the levels of banded support under the Renewables Obligation for the period 2013-17 and the Renewables Obligation Order 2012' contains the latest levelised cost estimates for selected renewable technologies: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5936-renewables-obligation-consultation-the-government.pdf ;a report by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) (2011) contains the latest levelised cost estimates for selected non-renewable technologies: www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/about us/economics-social-research/2127-electricity-generation-cost-model-2011.pdf.

For ease of reference, Table I below replicates levelised cost estimates for projects starting in 2011 and 2017 for selected technologies using a simplified assumption of 10% discount rate across technologies to aid high level comparison between technologies.

Table 1: Indicative Levelised Cost Estimates for Selected Electricity Generation Technologies

2010 prices Source Projects starting in 2011, £/MWh Projects starting in 2017, £/MWh
CCGT PB Power (2011) 77 88
Coal 95 117
Nuclear 74 65
Onshore Wind>5 MW* RO Banding Review Government response (2012) 101 98
Offshore R2 Wind 126 115
Offshore R3 146 130
Dedicated Biomass >50MW 118 117
Dedicated Biomass (0-50MW) 113 112

NB: All estimates are for 'Nth of a Kind' (NOAK) projects except nuclear where the first estimate for projects starting in 2011 is based on 'first of a kind' estimate and the estimate for projects starting in 2017 is based on a 'nth of a kind' estimate. *The estimate for onshore wind is for England and Wales only. Cost estimates for RO Banding review (2012) are in £2010/11 financial year prices.

These levelised costs estimates are highly sensitive to the assumptions used including those on discount rates (for simplicity the table above uses the same discount rate for all technologies as opposed to technology specific discount rates), capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, and load factor. It should be noted that the estimates shown above are indicative estimates of levelised costs and given the uncertainties it is often more appropriate to consider a range of cost estimates.

DECC does not have estimates for the average costs per megawatt hour of electricity generated from existing stations.




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Monday, September 24, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Email alerts and Biofuelwatch news





(Apologies for double posting to those receiving regular news updates rather than occasional alerts on this list)

Email alerts:

 World Rainforest Movement are asking for signatures for three Open Lettershttp://wrm.org.uy/ .  One supports communities in Gabon that are opposing the expansion of large oil palm and rubber plantations.  The second supports communities in the Southern Philippines who are trying to stop land-grabbing by a palm oil company, A Brown Company Inc.  The third denounces FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification of eucalyptus plantations belonging to Fibria Celulose SA in Brazil. 

Biofuelwatch news:

+ We currently have a job vacancy for a Bioenergy Campaigner.  For more details, including on how to apply, please see www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/jobs/

+ We have published a  new report, 'Sustainable Biomass: A Modern Myth'. It explores the certification companies certifying biomass as sustainable, the UK government's proposed sustainability criteria for biomass, and developer's 'promises' to source sustainable biomass.  To download the report or Executive Summary, please go to www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2012/biomass_myth_report/


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[biofuelwatch] Timberwatch Statement on International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations






  
 
 
(Click above to download pdf) 
 
Externalised costs and the harmful effects of industrial tree plantations need to be far better understood by governments in Africa and elsewhere around the world. The numerous social problems and negative environmental impacts caused by expanding tree plantations in developing countries in the South are driven mainly by high demand for throw-away paper products and packaging used or wasted by ordinary people and businesses in affluent Northern countries.
 
However additional new demand for plantation biomass as a fuel for power stations and other energy-intensive industrial processes is now causing unprecedented pressure on African land and water resources. Globally the timber industry has responded to this increased demand for wood and other tree derived industrial substances such as chemical cellulose, by further increasing the area under tree plantations, especially in remote regions where community awareness of their negative impacts is low, and there is limited political understanding or oversight. Countries being targeted in Africa include Mocambique, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
                                                        
  
A mountain of woodchips being stockpiled for export from Richards Bay harbour
 
Because countries in Africa are perceived to be a source of cheap labour, land and water, and Northern governments and global financial institutions like the World Bank and the IFC (International Finance Corporation) support timber industry expansion with grants, loans, subsidies and incentives, and/or there may also be inadvertent weak local government, precious biodiversity, land and water resources can be easily be alienated from legitimate local community owners, and then overexploited or even destroyed through the harmful impacts of large-scale monoculture tree plantations.
 
Fast-growing industrial tree plantations generally need to be grown in areas with deep fertile soils, and can consume even more water than the normal rainfall can provide. This often results in water being 'stolen' from the surrounding water table, thus causing streams and wetlands to dry out, which also jeopardises local food farming activities and community water supplies. The excessive use of ground and surface water by evergreen plantation trees such as eucalyptus and pine during dry seasons also leads to more serious localised droughts; and this in turn contributes to increases in plantation wildfires that also destroy people's homes and crops and harm biodiversity.
 
Many of these negative impacts will also cause suffering to innocent future generations, whose lives will be negatively affected by the degraded land and polluted water resources left behind by the timber industry. Millions of hectares of potential food-producing land are being systematically damaged by timber plantations that have already caused the complete loss of topsoil in some areas. To make matters worse, tree plantation activities also cause the rapid spread of alien invasive plants into areas where they never existed before, and the alien plantation tree species used, including eucalyptus, mimosa and pines, are in themselves extremely invasive, having already infested millions of hectares of grassland, wetland and forest in South Africa thanks to the negligence of timber plantation owners and lax government oversight in the past.
 
                                                           
 
Plantation wildfires have become more frequent in many parts of the world including
this recent one in Gippsland, South Australia, shown here
 
In South Africa, great environmental damage has been caused by the plantations and pulp mills of multinational paper company Sappi, which has large polluting mills sited on rivers near the towns of Umkomaas, Stanger, Nelspruit and Mandeni. However the pulp and paper mills of Mondi at Merebank, Felixton and Richards Bay also cause severe air and water pollution, whilst consuming cheap dirty energy purchased from the national electricity provider Eskom. Both Sappi and Mondi have made token efforts to reduce their environmental impacts, such as by burning timber waste in their boilers and using recycled 'grey' water in the pulping process. Unfortunately these puny efforts have miniscule benefits for the environment and local communities, especially when they are being used to help justify increased production and even more plantations. Thus there is a situation where overseas consumers of pulp and paper products produced in South Africa benefit from unrealistically cheap prices while local ecosystems and communities must suffer the real costs of health and environmental impacts caused by the industry.
 
Pulp and paper production is also one of the worst contributors to climate change through its extremely high consumption of energy derived from fossil fuels; and the CO2 and methane emissions released during the full industrial production cycle of paper and packaging, which includes initial destruction of natural vegetation or farmland, heavy applications of toxic chemicals and pesticides, the use of fossil-fuels in plantation timber logging, transportation and processing, and finally the greenhouse gases emitted by mill sludge, paper and packaging waste, and billions of used disposable nappies that lie rotting in dumps. The idea that the tree plantations which are part of this process could somehow reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore qualify to earn carbon offset credits is ludicrous at best. The same applies of course to the perverted concept known as REDD+ which purports to be able to offset carbon emissions from industrialised countries by "enhancing carbon storage" with industrial tree plantations!
 
 
An enormous ash and sludge dump at the now abandoned Sappi Usutu
kraft mill at Bhunya in Swaziland
 
Another major impact of industrial timber plantations is their massive direct and indirect destruction of wildlife and biodiversity, especially in grasslands and woodlands that is caused by converting natural habitat into tree plantations. This also has severe negative implications for the livelihoods of rural communities who traditionally depend on wild plants and animals for housing, food, clothing and medicines. The loss of biodiversity translates into an additional burden on governments and NGOs to provide alternative supplies of food and medicines, and the situation is exacerbated by the migration of people displaced from transformed rural areas to urban squatter slums. This places an even greater financial burden on taxpayers and the state, which amounts to yet another indirect subsidy to the timber plantation industry.
 
 
 Slopes stripped bare of topsoil in `responsibly managed' plantations of Sappi in South Africa,
yet they are still certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)
 
Most of the social and environmental costs of tree plantations are therefore 'externalised' or transferred to other sectors of society, usually Indigenous Peoples and poor rural communities; but also to future generations who will have had no involvement in the decisions to destroy their land. If these externalised costs, as well as the cost of restoring the land to its original healthy state were to be fully accounted for and included in the costing of the paper, packaging, biofuels and other disposable or combustible commodities made from plantation trees, it should result in a more equitable valuation where the true full cost of the product is reflected in its selling price. This would have the desirable effect of quickly driving down wasteful production and consumption, whilst also making waste wood and paper products far more valuable, thus leading to a situation where 100% recycling would be possible, creating numerous jobs, and preventing the wasting of much precious biodiversity, topsoil, water and energy. 
 
In an African or developing nation context this approach should also have a positive outcome in terms of how community land is valued, because at present it is often perceived as underutilised or 'wasted' and therefore heavily under-valued or under-priced by global standards. At the moment many regions in Africa are suffering extensive land grabs, where foreign companies are easily able to cheaply obtain long-term ownership of precious community land for next-to-nothing in terms of financial cost. One particularly bad example is that of the Norwegian company 'Green Resources Ltd' which has managed to obtain long leases on over a million acres of community land in South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Mocambique for a proverbial 'song'.
 
                                                         
 
Effluent from the Sappi paper mill at Stanger in South Africa where the
(in)famous "Triple Green" paper brand is produced
 
It should be obvious that industrial tree plantations represent a major threat to the long term sustainability of not only African peoples' livelihoods but also to affected local communities in countries throughout the world, including in so-called developed nations like Australia, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. However the global timber industry, stupidly supported by large international 'conservation' organisations such as the WWF and Greenpeace, has succeeded in hoodwinking the world through the use of a cleverly devised scheme known as "Forest Certification" that effectively green-washes the timber and paper products of even the worst managed forests and tree plantations. The best known scheme (or should that rather be scam?) is that of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) that has devised a feel-good marketing system that glibly assures consumers that FSC certified timber products are from "responsibly managed forests"!
 
So what are you waiting for? Please distribute this message as widely as possible, and add your support to the GeaSphere Petition, and the World Rainforest Movement letter to governments (see links below). The time to make a difference is now!
 
 
 
For more information please contact Wally Menne (Project Co-ordinator)
E-mail: timberwatch@iafrica.com       Tel: +27 (0) 82 4442083          Skype: wally.menne
 
Timberwatch Coalition
Box 30577 Mayville 4058 South Africa 
Fax: +27 (0)86 6178379                                                                              www.timberwatch.org
 
Global Forest Coalition NGO Focal Point (Africa)                       www.globalforestcoalition.org


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Friday, September 21, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Help end targets for burning food crops in cars



New email action

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/biodiversity/press_for_change/biofuel_mandates_37239.html

Food prices are again rising to record highs. The short term impacts of bad harvests are exacerbated by food being diverted into biofuel production.

In the US almost half of all maize is now being burned in cars. In Europe 60% of rapeseed in used for biodiesel.

But research has shown that biofuels made from crops don't help the climate. In fact they can result in an increase in climate emissions.

Prices for basic foods are rising and agricultural land is being diverted away from food production. This means more people are being pushed into poverty and more forests are being cut down to make way for biofuel plantations.

What can be done
The most immediate action world leaders can take is to end biofuel mandates that have no environmental benefits. The world's ten biggest intergovernmental organisations, including the United Nations and the World Bank, have already urged G20 leaders to do just that.

Take action
Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will be attending the upcoming G20 emergency meeting on food prices. Ask him to make sure that the world leaders end mandates and targets for burning food crops in cars.

Email Owen Paterson now

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/biodiversity/press_for_change/biofuel_mandates_37239.html




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[biofuelwatch] Activists Denounce Bio-economy and Sustainable Biomass Myth on Int. Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations





En Español abajo.
Apologies for cross-postings.

  Activist Groups Denounce Bio-economy and Sustainable Biomass Myth on International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations

 

Asuncion/London/Edinburgh/Buffalo, 21 September 2012

 

On the occasion of the International Day of Protest Against Monoculture Tree Plantations {1}, the Global Forest Coalition [2], Biofuelwatch [3] Critical Information Collective [4] and Global Justice Ecology Project [5] warn against EU and US plans to expand the bio-economy [6].

 

This new industrial strategy assumes that massive amounts of additional biomass could be produced sustainably in order to be burned for industrial and commercial electricity and heat, or processed to replace petroleum fuels used in transportation or various manufacturing and industrial processes.

 

However, there is evidence to show that increasing demand for biomass, and the land on which to produce it, is contributing to staggering increases in food prices, leading to hunger and malnutrition. It is also encouraging land grabs, displacing and undermining the livelihoods of peasant communities and Indigenous Peoples, and triggering greater forest and biodiversity loss.

 

Furthermore, the belief that using biomass to replace fossil fuels is 'climate friendly' has been soundly refuted. While industrial proponents claim it is 'carbon neutral', scientists have shown that it may take decades or even centuries for new trees to reabsorb the carbon released into the atmosphere through the combustion of biomass-based fuels.

 

Policymakers and even some environmentalists claim that introducing so-called sustainability standards and criteria will avoid these problems, but the new Biofuelwatch report "Sustainable Biomass: A Modern Myth" [7] shows that standards are ineffective and serve to legitimise an inherently unsustainable new demand for industrial bioenergy, created by government subsidies and mandates.  

 

Almuth Ernsting, one of the authors of the report, says: "The UK offers a prime example of the dangers of biomass sustainability standards. It is the first country to introduce mandatory standards, which, together with biomass subsidies, will make the UK one of the biggest importers of wood-based biomass worldwide. Soon, UK power stations could be burning nine times as much wood as the country can produce itself. 'Sustainability standards' are thus being used to create an inherently unsustainable new demand for wood."  

 

"One of the biggest threats to the world's remaining forests is that they will be directly or indirectly replaced by monoculture tree plantations, which are expected to produce more biomass than forests, but which have been documented as storing only a quarter of the carbon that is stored in natural forests," states Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition. "Additionally, the replacement of biologically diverse forests with monoculture tree plantations has devastating impacts on biodiversity, and on the Indigenous Peoples and local communities that depend on forest resources. If future plantations also include genetically engineered (GE) trees, these impacts will be even more serious and unpredictable."

 

Isaac Rojas, Biodiversity Coordinator of Friends of the Earth International, asked recently: "I wonder why many people, including some environmentalists, still believe large-scale tree plantations heavily sprayed with chemicals are desirable or even sustainable… timber plantations have a negative impact on communities, local economies and biodiversity….They are simply a huge concern … in many countries, including my own, Costa Rica."[9]

 

In a joint letter that was launched today [8], more than 240 groups and individuals are calling upon governments to stop the expansion of tree plantations.

 

For further information:

 

Simone Lovera, executive director, Global Forest Coalition (in Paraguay): +595-21-663654, simone.lovera@globalforestcoalition.org

Almuth Ernsting, co-director, Biofuelwatch (in the UK): +44-131-6232300, almuthbernstinguk@yahoo.co.uk

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

 

[1] The 2012 International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations will be observed through seminars, demonstrations and other actions organized by forest campaigners all over the world. See http://www.wrm.org.uy for more information on the actions that have been planned.

 

[2] The Global Forest Coalition is a coalition of Indigenous Peoples' Organizations and NGOs from 39 different countries promoting rights-based, socially just and effective forest conservation policies. (http://www.globalforestcoalition.org)

 

[3] Biofuelwatch is a not-for-profit organisation campaigning against the expansion of industrial scale biomass and biofuels in the UK and US (http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk)

 

[4] Critical Information Collective is a 'one stop shop' providing access to a wide range of accessible and incisive information challenging corporate-driven economic globalization and promoting fair and sustainable alternatives. The bio-economy alert and all the reports mentioned in this press releases can be downloaded form www.criticalcollective.org/publications/green-economy-3

 

[5] Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the global Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered trees (http://nogetrees.org)

 

[6] The 'Biodiversity and Livelihoods under Attack from Industrial 'Bio-economy' Strategy' alert gives a concise explanation of the risks and negative impacts of bio-economy strategies and links to six key recent reports on bio-economies and other information materials, from a range of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples' Organizations. The bio-economy alert and all the reports mentioned in this press releases can be downloaded form www.criticalcollective.org/publications/green-economy-3

 

[7] The report "Sustainable Biomass: A Modern Myth" is available from www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2012/biomass_myth_report.

 

[8] http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2012/Open_letter.html

 

[9] http://www.alternet.org/hot-news-views/why-tree-plantations-are-problem-not-solution

  

 

En el Día Internacional contra los Monocultivos de Arboles Grupos de Activistas denuncian la Bio-economía y el Mito de la Biomasa Sostenible

 

Asunción/Londres/Edinburgh/Buffalo, 21 de Septiembre de 2012

 

 

Con motivo del Día Internacional de Protesta Contra los Monocultivos de Árboles {1}, la Coalición Mundial por los Bosques [2], Biofuelwatch [3] Colectivo de Información Crítica [4] y Global Justice Ecology Project [5] advierten en contra de la UE y los EE.UU sobre los planes de expansión de la bio-economía [6].

 

Esta nueva estrategia industrial supone que grandes cantidades de biomasa adicional podrían ser producidas de manera sostenible con el fin de ser quemado para electricidad industrial, comercial y calor, o procesados ​​para sustituir a los combustibles derivados del petróleo utilizados en el transporte, en fabricaciones varias y procesos industriales.

 

Sin embargo, hay pruebas que demuestran que la creciente demanda de biomasa y la tierra sobre la que se producen, está contribuyendo al incremento asombroso en los precios de los alimentos, lo que conduce al hambre y la desnutrición. También incitan al acaparamiento de tierras, desplazando y socavando el sustento de las comunidades campesinas y Pueblos Indígenas, además de provocar una mayor pérdida de bosque y de biodiversidad.

 

Además, la creencia de que el uso de la biomasa para sustituir a los combustibles fósiles es "amigable con el clima" ha sido refutada completamente. Mientras que, los defensores industriales afirman que es "carbono neutral", los científicos han demostrado que puede tomar décadas o incluso siglos para que árboles nuevos puedan reabsorber el carbono liberado a la atmósfera a través de la combustión de los combustibles basados ​​en la biomasa.

 

Las autoridades e incluso algunos ecologistas afirman que la introducción de los llamados estándares de sostenibilidad y criterios evitaran estos problemas, pero el nuevo informe de Biofuelwatch "Biomasa Sostenible: Un Mito Moderno" [7] muestra que las normas no son efectivas y sirven para legitimar una nueva demanda inherentemente insostenible para la bioenergía industrial, creada por los subsidios del gobierno y mandatos. 

 

Almuth Ernsting, uno de los autores del informe dice: "El Reino Unido ofrece un buen ejemplo de los peligros de las normas de sostenibilidad de la biomasa. Es el primer país en introducir normas obligatorias, las cuales, junto con las subvenciones a la biomasa, harán que el Reino Unido sea uno de los mayores importadores de biomasa a base de madera en todo el mundo. Pronto, las centrales del Reino Unido podrían quemar hasta nueve veces más madera de lo que el país puede producir por sí mismo. Las "Normas de Sostenibilidad" son así utilizados para crear una nueva demanda inherentemente insostenible de la madera".

 

"Una de las mayores amenazas para los bosques que aún quedan en el mundo, es que se verán directa o indirectamente reemplazados por plantaciones de monocultivos de árboles, que se espera produzcan más biomasa que los bosques, mientras que solo fueron documentados como almacenamiento la cuarta parte del carbono que es almacenado en los bosques naturales ", afirma Simone Lovera, Directora Ejecutiva de la Coalición Mundial por los Bosques. "Además, la sustitución de los bosques biológicamente diversos con los monocultivos de árboles tiene impactos devastadores sobre la biodiversidad, sobre los Pueblos Indígenas y las comunidades locales que dependen de los recursos forestales. Si las plantaciones futuras también incluyen arboles genéticamente modificados (GM), estos impactos serán aún más graves e impredecibles".

 

Isaac Rojas, Coordinador de la Biodiversidad de Amigos de la Tierra Internacionalindagó recientemente: "Me pregunto por qué muchas personas, incluyendo algunos ambientalistas, creen aun, que grandes plantaciones de árboles rociados en exceso con productos químicos son deseables o incluso sostenible... las plantaciones de madera tienen un impacto negativo en la comunidades, las economías locales y la biodiversidad.... simplemente son una gran preocupación ... en muchos países, incluido el mío, Costa Rica ". [9]

 

En una carta conjunta, que fue lanzado hoy [8], más de 240 grupos e individuos están pidiendo a los gobiernos a detener la expansión de las plantaciones de árboles.

 

Para mayor informacion:

 

Simone Lovera, executive director, Global Forest Coalition (in Paraguay): +595-21-663654, simone.lovera@globalforestcoalition.org

Almuth Ernsting, co-director, Biofuelwatch (in the UK): +44-131-6232300, almuthbernstinguk@yahoo.co.uk

 

NOTAS PARA LOS EDITORES

 

 [1] El Día Internacional contra los Monocultivos de Árboles 2012 serán observados a través de seminarios, manifestaciones y otras acciones organizadas por los activistas de los bosques de todo el mundo. Ver http://www.wrm.org.uy para más informaciones sobre las acciones que se han planeado.

 

 [2] La Coalición Mundial por los Bosques es una coalición de organizaciones de Pueblos Indígenas y organizaciones no gubernamentales de 39 países diferentes promoviendo los derechos fundamentales, socialmente justo y políticas eficaces de conservación forestal. (http://www.globalforestcoalition.org)

 

 [3] Biofuelwatch es una organización sin fines de lucro en campaña contra de la expansión de la biomasa y los biocombustibles a escala industrial en el Reino Unido y los EE.UU. (http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk)

 [4] El Colectivo de Información Crítica ofrece información accesible e incisiva que cuestiona la globalización económica agenciada por las empresas transnacionales  y promueve alternativas justas y sustentables. La alerta sobre la bio-economía y todos los informes mencionados en este comunicado de prensa se ​​pueden descargar de www.criticalcollective.org/publications/green-economy-3

 [5] Global Justice Ecology Project coordina la campaña mundial para detener los árboles genéticamente modificados (http://nogetrees.org)

 

[6] La "Biodiversidad y Medios de Vida bajo ataque de la Estrategia "Bio-economía" Industrial" da una explicación concisa de los riesgos e impactos negativos de enlaces estratégicos y bio-economía a seis informes claves recientes sobre bio-economía y otros materiales de información, de una serie de ONGs y Organizaciones de Pueblos indígenas. La alerta de bio-economía y todos los informes mencionados en este comunicado de prensa está disponible en www.criticalcollective.org/publications/green-economy-3

 

 [7] El informe "La biomasa sostenible: Un Mito Moderno" está disponible en www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2012/biomass_myth_report.

 

[8] http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2012/Open_letter.html

 

[9] http://www.alternet.org/hot-news-views/why-tree-plantations-are-problem-not-solution

 

Simone Lovera
executive director
Global Forest Coalition
Bruselas 2273
Asuncion, Paraguay
tel: +595-21-663654
Skype: simonelovera



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