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Action Alert: Europe Must End Their "Deforestation Biofuel" Energy Policy

Industrial biofuels threaten Rainforests and European land sustainability

By, a project of EcoInternet - January 3, 2007

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Additional Background

There exist serious concerns regarding the production of plantation crops on lands cleared of ancient rainforests for production of biodiesel in Europe in particular. For example, remaining natural orangutan habitat and their rainforest ecosystems in Southeast Asia are threatened by the unsustainable harvesting of palm oil for the use of biofuels. Ecological Internet has been instrumental in highlighting the threat to rainforests posed by biofuel crops, and as a result many groups are now campaigning on the issue. This alert supports the efforts of Regenwald in Germany and Biofuelwatch in the UK.

The campaign to stop Europe's "Deforestation Biofuel" Energy Policy is now at an important decision point, as the European Commission is expected to finalize the "Biomass Action Plan" policy by January 10th for biofuels sourced from plantations cleared from ancient rainforests. Earlier the European Parliament voted on the plan, and though they acknowledged a lack of clear environmental standards and safeguards could have significant negative effects, such as an increase in tropical deforestation and agriculture intensification and biodiversity losses in Europe and abroad, while failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly; they still voted for rapid market expansion before safeguards are put in place.

The European Parliament also voted to abolish compulsory conservation set-asides in Europe - even though it has been shown that agricultural intensification for biofuels will cause a large-scale decline in biodiversity across Europe. Finally, the European Parliament reportedly voted to class peat as a long-term renewable form of energy and biomass. Peat has as much or more carbon per ton as other fossil fuels, and clearly should not be classed as renewable energy.

Please tell the European Commission now that they must prevent biofuels from causing ever greater deforestation, biodiversity losses, and evictions and impoverishment of local communities both in tropical rainforests and Europe. Unrestrained industrial biofuel expansion will accelerate, not slow down climate change, as peatlands, rainforests, forests and croplands across the world are converted to energy crop monocultures and release their carbon in the process.

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Biofuels from Cleared Rainforests Harm the Climate  (link)

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