I saw this artical in the London Metro free-paper and have sent a letter to the editor. (my letter follows)
Biofuels are 'not our saviour'
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Biofuels will cause serious environmental and social damage instead of saving the planet, a UN report is warning.
The supposedly eco-friendly products would have to be grown on millions of hectares of precious farmland and devour the world's dwindling water supplies, the agency says.
For example, soaring demand for palm oil, an ingredient in biodiesel, has already led to tropical forests being cleared in South-East Asia.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Ed Matthew echoed the UN warning, saying: 'We are struggling to feed people and suddenly we want to start feeding our cars on crops. If this is done it could cause dramatic social and environmental problems.'
Biofuels have been touted as a clean and cheap alternative to greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels. The US, the world's largest polluter, wants production increased sevenfold by 2022.
Europe wants biofuels to meet ten per cent of energy needs by 2020.
The fuels represent an 'extraordinary opportunity' to reduce greenhouse gases, the UN-Energy report concedes.
But it warns: 'Rapid growth in liquid biofuel production will make substantial demands on the world's land and water resources at a time when demand for both food and forest products is also rising rapidly.'
Arise in food prices could have 'irreversible consequences' for society, while the damage to soil and peat lands may offset all the gains made in reducing emissions, the report adds.
Almuth Ernsting, of pressure group Biofuelwatch, added: 'Food security, local communities and bio-diversity are all under threat.'
My letter back to them...
With regards to your front page article “Biofuels, a threat not our saviour” I thought it should be pointed out it takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of Wheat & 2500 gallons of water to produce 1lb of Beef. So if people and the U.N are that worried about our supplies of water should we not all be thinking about cutting down if not out our consumption of meat? I for one think that the meat consumption in this country is too high, it seems that every week there is either a new food safety scar or another medical report saying meat is linked to another disease that can kill us, or if not kill us make us sick enough to need the over stretched resources of the N.H.S. Is it that the meat industry has the government in its back pocket so they are now to scared to stand up for the man/woman in the street?
(I don't think they will print it but I thought it should be said, to often meat eaters get away without having to think about what they're doing could be killing us all...)