Forests

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Forests are major storehouses of carbon. As a forest grows it sequesters carbon until it reaches it's climax stage of growth.

According to a recent report on The Role of Ecosystems in Climate Mitigation (PDF) by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

  • The carbon stocks of tropical moist forests vary "depending on the abundance of the large, densely wooded species that store the most carbon". [1] On average, tropical forests "store around 160 tonnes per hectare in the above-ground vegetation and around 40 tonnes per hectare in the roots." [2] Greenpeace reports that the Amazon rainforest contains approximately 10% of all the carbon stored in global terrestrial ecosystems. (PDF)
  • The carbon storage of temperate forests is "estimated at between 150 and 320 tonnes per hectare, of which plant biomass, chiefly in the form of large woody above-ground organs and deep, coarse root systems, accounts for around 60% and soil carbon the remainder". [3] The temperate forests of Europe are thought to sequester "7-12% of European carbon emissions". [4]
Temperate forest
  • Northern Hemisphere boreal forests store "roughly 60–100 tonnes of carbon per hectare, of which around 80% is in the above-ground biomass." [5] Because of "low decomposition rates and the extensive peatlands they can grow on, boreal forests are considered to be important carbon sinks." [6]

Contents

Forests and biofuels

  • Some researchers have suggested that the clearing of forests to plant biofuel crops may release 2 to 9 times as much carbon as the use of fossil fuels.[7]
  • Tropical forests may be converted to crop plantations, such as oil palm, due to increased demand for biofuels.
    • This may lead to deforestation or forest degradation.

Publications

See books, reports, scientific papers, position papers and websites for additional useful resources.

  • Recipes for Success: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Vegetable Oils by The Union of Concerned Scientists, March 2012."Global demand for vegetable oils has recently increased, which impacts not only the global economy, but also the atmosphere and ecosystems. Increasing demand for vegetable oils has traditionally translated into demand for more land to grow oil crops... Over the last decade much of that land has come at the expense of tropical forests, and this is particularly true for palm and soybean oil."
    • "Our report, Recipes for Success: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Vegetable Oils examines the vegetable oil market and details how businesses can produce and use vegetable oil without causing deforestation." [8]
Chart from the 2007a IPCC climate change assessment report shows contributions by sector to total anthropogenic GHG emissions in 2004, in terms of CO2 equivalent. Heat trapping GHGs result in global temperature changes that effect our climate systems. The label "Forestry" in this breakdown includes global deforestation, which accounts for 17.4% of total annual GHG emissions. Source (PDF File)
  • Food, fuel, and the hidden margins of capital, by Peter D. Richards; April 2011 in the Journal of Land Use Science.
    • From the Abstract: "Perhaps no region has drawn more attention to the environmental impacts of expanding agricultural production than the Amazon....In this article, I provide a location-based conceptualization of indirect land use change that brings to light the intra-regional movement of capital and skills between the cattle and agriculture sectors. The article suggests that amid rapid increases in rents for soy production and land prices, ranchers face strong incentives to relocate their operations to forest regions."[10]
  • Global land-use implications of first and second generation biofuel targets by Petr Havlík, Uwe A. Schneider, Erwin Schmid, Hannes Böttcher, Steffen Fritz, Rastislav Skalský, Kentaro Aoki, Stéphane De Cara, Georg Kindermann, Florian Kraxner, Sylvain Leduc, Ian McCallum, Aline Mosnier, Timm Sauer and Michael Obersteiner, April 2010. "In this paper we provide a detailed analysis of the iLUC effect, and further address the issues of deforestation, irrigation water use, and crop price increases due to expanding biofuel acreage. We use GLOBIOM – an economic partial equilibrium model of the global forest, agriculture, and biomass sectors with a bottom-up representation of agricultural and forestry management practices. The results indicate that second generation biofuel production fed by wood from sustainably managed existing forests would lead to a negative iLUC factor, meaning that overall emissions are 27% lower compared to the 'No biofuel' scenario by 2030."
  • Forest Footprint Disclosure Annual Review (PDF file) - This February 2010 Forest Footprint Disclosure Project report makes available the results of its 2009 company disclosure request. The report "reveals the names of those businesses that have responded to its first call to disclose details of their ‘Forest Footprint’," defined as "the extent to which procurement policies for Forest Risk Commodities (FRCs) such as palm oil, soy, timber, beef, leather and biofuels are linked to deforestation. The Report identifies two high profile British High Street names as ‘Best Performers’ in their sectors – Marks & Spencer (General Retail) and Sainsbury’s (Food and Drug Retail)." [11] (PDF file)

Websites

  • Forest Footprint Disclosure "The Forest Footprint Disclosure Project (FFD Project) is a new UK government-supported initiative, created to help investors identify how an organisation’s activities and supply chains contribute to deforestation, and link this 'forest footprint' to their value."
  • Forest Carbon Portal Forest Carbon Portal is an "information clearinghouse on terrestrial carbon. The Forest Carbon Portal tracks news, resources, events and nearly 100 forest carbon projects around the world. This new version offers a more interactive site where users can create profiles in the member directory; join discussions in ‘Carbon Connections’; comment on articles; as well as upload projects, resources, events and job opportunities."

Events

Northeastern U.S. pine forest. Selectively harvested biomass from forests can be transformed into different forms of bioenergy.

2012

2011

2010

See the archive of past forests-related events.

News

2012

  • EU carbon target threatened by biomass 'insanity' 2 April 2012 by Arthur Neslen for EurActiv: "The EU's emissions reduction target for 2020 could be facing an unlikely but grave obstacle, according to a growing number of scientists, EU officials and NGOs: the contribution of biomass to the EU's renewable energy objectives for 2020."
    • "On 29 March, a call was launched at the European Parliament for Brussels to reconsider its carbon accounting rules for biomass emissions, and EurActiv has learned that the issue is provoking widespread alarm in policy-making circles."
    • "Around half of the EU's target for providing 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 will be made up by biomass energy from sources such as wood, waste and agricultural crops and residues, according to EU member states' national action plans... Wood makes up the bulk of this target and is counted by the EU as 'carbon neutral', giving it access to subsidies, feed-in tariffs and electricity premiums at national level."
    • "But because there is a time lag between the carbon debt that is created when a tree is cut down, transported and combusted – and the carbon credit that occurs when a new tree has grown to absorb as much carbon as the old one – biomass will increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the interim." [17]
  • Global Demand for Vegetable Oils Contributing to Deforestation: New Report Helps Businesses Become Deforestation-Free, 7 March 2012 by The Union of Concerned Scientists: “The global demand for vegetable oils is increasing at an unsustainable rate – more than 5 percent annually over the past decade – contributing to massive deforestation in tropical regions, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)... UCS’s report Recipes for Success: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Vegetable Oils, which was co-authored with Climate Advisers, offers solutions for businesses, governments and consumers on producing and using vegetable oil without causing deforestation.”
    • "“Deforestation results in a loss of biodiversity, destroys ecosystems and puts indigenous peoples at risk. Globally, the most damaging effect of deforestation is its contribution to global climate change, which account for about 15 percent of annual carbon emissions – more than the pollution from every car, truck, plane, ship, and train on Earth.”
    • “‘It’s important for consumers to insist that companies ensure the products they sell are deforestation-free,’ said Calen May-Tobin, policy analyst and advocate for UCS’s Tropical Forests and Climate Initiative. ‘If leading companies commit to using deforestation-free vegetable oil in their products, others will follow suit, curbing the rate of deforestation and climate change.’ ”
  • Biomass Supply and Carbon Accounting for Southeastern Forests , 14 February 2012 by National Wildlife Federation: "A new study of southeastern forests in the U.S. finds that in the long run, burning wood instead of fossil fuels to make electricity can reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but not soon enough to prevent worsening the conditions leading to global climate change."
    • "...[T]he southeastern United States has seen recent interest in significantly expanding the biomass energy sector, including building new power plants, co-firing with coal power in existing plants, pellet manufacture for export to Europe, and producing cellulosic ethanol. While some look to these developments and see promise, others look with great concern at pressures on the region’s forests, implications for forest health and sustainable wood supply, and impacts on cumulative greenhouse gas emissions...."
    • "...[T]his study seeks to address two key questions relevant to the biomass electric power sector in this region of the country:
      • "How much biomass (primarily wood) is available on a sustainable basis to source the expanding southeastern biomass electric power sector? And, what is the potential of public policy to create demands that exceed sustainable supply levels?
      • "How will the increased use of forest biomass for electric power generation in the Southeast affect atmospheric carbon over time, and how does biomass energy compare to several fossil fuel energy alternatives in terms of cumulative GHG emissions over time?"[18]
    • Download the report: Biomass Supply and Carbon Accounting for Southeastern Forests (PDF file)

2011

  • Biomass for fuel could damage furniture industry, 17 December 2011 by Green Building Press: "Concerns have been expressed about the effect that government directives which encourage the burning of wood are likely to have on British manufacturing. Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) and the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) held a meeting at the House of Lords this week to launch a report commissioned by FIRA."
    • "The organisation's document focuses on the Renewables Obligation Woody Biomass Subsidy and the detrimental effect it is having on the British furniture industry...."
    • "The document outlines a series of recommendations on how the Government can ensure that manufacturers are allowed to continue business without facing the difficulty of coping with rising prices from the woody biomass subsidy distortion...."
    • "In addition, the report discusses how biomass stations relying on wood imports from abroad are a threat to the world’s forests and may even increase climate-change emissions."[20]
  • Growth Energy: Let’s base energy policy on reality, 8 December 2011 by Growth Energy: "Though we’ll always believe in Santa Claus, it’s time to finally put the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) myth to bed."
    • "For a long time, the facts simply haven’t matched the rhetoric surrounding this theory, which claims that growing grains for biofuel production displaces other crops, leading to deforestation."
    • "...[C]heck out today’s story from Reuters showing that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region fell to its lowest in 23 years this past July, as ethanol production in that country and across the world continued to grow."
    • "Despite the fact that ILUC is untested, highly disputed and clearly detached from reality, an ILUC penalty was included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. That means that corn-based ethanol cannot be considered an 'advanced biofuel,' even though it fits the bill in other aspects."
    • "It’s time to stop basing out nation’s energy policies on fairytales. The stakes are too high."[21]
  • Sustainable palm oil initiative falters, 20 November 2011 by Mail & Guardian Online: "Environmentalists have warned that an effort to encourage the sustainable production of palm oil launched several years ago has not kept pace with expanding cultivation driven by rising demand."
    • "The issue will loom large this week at the annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil from November 22 to 24 in key producer Malaysia."
    • "Despite some progress, major users of palm oil are not making enough effort to source and buy sustainably produced oil, while incentives for green production remain inadequate, green groups say."
    • "Growers produced 5.2-million tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) -- accounting for about 10% of world supply -- last year but only about 56% of it was purchased."
    • "Environmentalists say the consequences for rainforests in major producers Malaysia and Indonesia -- which account for 85% of world production -- and other producing nations will be dire unless the situation changes."
    • "The forest loss contributes to climate change and further imperils threatened species like the orangutan while land disputes between local communities and large palm producers seeking to expand cultivation are rising."[22]
  • Biofuel from West Coat forests would increase carbon emissions, 26 October 2011 by Western Farm Press: "The largest and most comprehensive study yet done on the effect of biofuel production from West Coast forests has concluded that an emphasis on bioenergy would increase carbon dioxide emissions from these forests at least 14 percent, if the efficiency of such operations is optimal."
    • "The study was published in Nature Climate Change, by scientists from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and other institutions in Germany and France. It was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy."
    • "During the past four years, the study examined 80 forest types in 19 eco-regions in Oregon, Washington and California, ranging from temperate rainforests to semi-arid woodlands."
    • "The study examined thousands of forest plots with detailed data and observations, considering 27 parameters, including the role of forest fire, emissions savings from bioenergy use, wood product substitution, insect infestations, forest thinning, energy and processes needed to produce biofuels, and many others."
    • "Plans for greenhouse gas reduction call for up to 10 percent lower emissions by 2020, and forest-derived fuels are now seen as a carbon-neutral solution to reducing energy emissions, the researchers note. However, this study suggests that increases in harvest volume on the West Coast, for any reason, will instead result in average increases in emissions above current levels."[23]
  • Our sugarcane is greener than your corn: Brazil takes on US biofuel industry, 4 October 2011 by Ecologist: "Despite a poor harvest last year, Brazil’s ethanol industry is gearing up for expansion with a series of consolidations involving big companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and Petrobras showing it means business."
    • "An Institute for European Enviroment Policy study last year claimed that biofuels could create an extra 56 million tonnes of CO2 per year due mostly to deforestation worldwide."
    • "Now the industry is keen to show the rest of the world it is cleaning up its act. Producers and the Brazilian government point to more stringent regulation and claim greater mechanisation will in fact eradicate the need for harmful burning."
    • "They are also keen to emphasise that the sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil is a much greener alternative to corn-derived ethanol from the United States or further deforestation of Europe where land is relatively scarce."
    • "A sustainability certification, Bon Sucro Standard, has been set up, with a Raizen mill in Maracai the first to be granted sustainability."
    • "The problem is chiefly one of regulating Brazil’s vast terrain, especially when it comes to the complex issue of deforestation caused by sugarcane planting."[25]
  • 'World's first' biomass exchange to open in Rotterdam, 3 October 2011 by Business Green: "What has been hailed as the world's first biomass exchange looks set to be launched in Rotterdam from next month, in response to soaring demand for wood chips from the biomass energy industry."
    • "Online systems in North America already serve a global market for wood pellets estimated to stand at around 10 million tonnes a year."
    • "Countries are increasingly turning to biomass to decarbonise their energy sectors, and experts predict that demand could grow sixfold by 2020."
    • "Trading will commence on 3 November with non-cleared products, before a second phase scheduled for 2012 will see the development of clearing services for wood pellets contracts."
    • "The new exchange is likely to further fuel the debate over the sustainability of biomass imports."
    • "European countries are likely to look abroad to meet future biomass needs, potentially pushing up the price of wood and encouraging deforestation in poorer countries, critics say."
    • "However, supporters of biomass power, including the UK Forestry Commission, have repeatedly argued that wood from sustainable forests, where new trees are planted when others are cut down, releases far less carbon than traditional fossil fuels."[26]
  • Biofuels may meet development needs of Sub-Saharan Africa, 3 October 2011 by Center for International Forestry Research blog: "Biofuel expansion has enormous potential to stimulate rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa, but ensuring local community benefits and adequate protections for food production and forests will require strategic policy interventions and close collaboration among stakeholders, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research."
    • "Biofuels have been touted as a ‘green’ alternative to fossil fuels, however critics of biofuel production argue that the expansion of biofuel development can often contribute to deforestation."
    • "Moreover, increasing land acquisition for biofuel expansion rather than food production in Africa could undermine food security and exacerbate a number of underlying social issues."
    • "The study urges for increased collaboration between government and the biofuel industry which will ensure that biofuel development can enhance livelihoods by bringing in urgently needed investment in the agricultural sector that would result in improved infrastructure and increased cash income in impoverished rural areas."[27]
  • S.C. group fighting biomass pollution, 20 September 2011 by The State: "The S.C. Coastal Conservation League, one of the state’s largest environmental groups, says the federal government should not exempt biomass plants from pending carbon dioxide rules."
    • "Also Monday, the Dogwood Alliance of western North Carolina said it will join the challenge against exempting biomass plants, which are growing in popularity as alternative sources of energy."
    • "Many biomass plants burn wood to make energy."
    • "South Carolina has 28 facilities that burn wood, according to a 2010 S.C. Energy Office report. At least seven more biomass facilities are proposed in the state, the league says."
    • "Black said the league doesn’t oppose biomass plants, but believes major facilities should be monitored until they can show that carbon emissions are not a problem."
    • "The Dogwood Alliance says the exemption could encourage a rush to build biomass plants — and that could take a toll on southern forests."[28]
  • Nestle Buys Palm Oil Promises of  Sinar Mas, 16 September 2011 by Jakarta Globe: "Swiss food giant Nestle will resume purchases of palm oil from Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology following an 18-month halt after Smart made improvements to abide by Nestle’s guidelines for responsible environmental practices."
    • "The parent company of the palm oil producer known as Smart, Golden Agri Resources, has been working with environmental group The Forest Trust on the implementation of a Forest Conservation Policy."
    • "Nestle Indonesia’s spokesman Brata T. Hardjosubroto said that Smart, Indonesia’s second-biggest listed plantation operator, and GAR had been making continuous progress and demonstrated clear action to meet Nestle’s responsible sourcing guidelines."
    • "Nestle, which started construction on its $200 million factory in West Java on Monday, had dropped Smart as a supplier in March 2010."
    • "The decision came following campaigns by Greenpeace highlighting Nestle’s purchase of crude palm oil from Sinar Mas Group, which Greenpeace accuses of destruction of rainforests and peatlands to make way for new plantations."[29]
  • European biofuels given reprieve, report suggests, 12 September 2011 by Farmers Guardian: "THE European Union’s top climate and energy officials have agreed to delay rules which would penalise individual biofuels for their indirect climate impacts, Reuters news agency is reporting."
    • "The political compromise is designed to protect EU farmers’ incomes and existing investments in the biofuel sector, while discouraging new investments in biofuels which do nothing to fight climate change."
    • "At issue is indirect land use change (ILUC), which states if you divert food crops to biofuel production, someone, somewhere, will go hungry unless those missing metric tons of grain are grown elsewhere."
    • "If the crops to make up the shortfall are grown on new farmland created by cutting down rainforests or draining peat land, this can release enough climate-warming emissions to cancel out any theoretical emission savings from biofuels."
    • "The July agreement would delay crop-specific rules on ILUC in favor of an indirect approach that penalises all biofuels equally.This involves raising the carbon-savings threshold that all biofuels must meet compared with conventional fossil fuel to count toward the EU’s target, which aims to raise the share of biofuel in road transport fuels to about 10 percent in 2020."[30]
  • Biomass schemes will boost destructive timber imports, claims wood industry, 11 September 2011 by The Guardian: "Big wood companies are trying to halt Drax, RWE and others pressing ahead with a raft of lower-carbon energy schemes which would see large power stations switch from burning coal to timber."
    • "The wood industry fears thousands of jobs in its factories will be threatened by the 'green' power plans and wants government to remove the subsidies facilitating them."
    • "Wildlife and environmental groups are also alarmed that the new biomass schemes could trigger a huge escalation in wood imports and threaten rainforests."
    • "The Wood Panel Industries Association said: 'We have already seen a 50% increase in wood prices over the last three years because of these kinds of energy developments and we do not think they should be receiving subsidies for schemes which we believe are not carbon-friendly and which will require a huge amount of imported wood to support a tenfold increase in planned capacity.'"
    • "A DECC spokesman said the department was aware of concerns from interest groups about a major escalation in biomass but said it had safeguards in place. 'The very clear sustainability criteria we now have in place under the renewables obligation will mean we know where biomass has come from and how it has been grown.'"
    • "The current subsidy regime for biomass and other clean technology such as wind power runs until 2013."[31]
  • New map gives public a global view of biofuel development, 8 September 2011 by Center for International Forestry Research: "The Global Biofuel Information Tool (GBIT), developed by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), with support from Profundo, is the first systematic attempt at gathering and consolidating data on biofuels and making this accessible in a user-friendly format."
    • "The GBIT was developed under a project funded by the European Commission exploring bioenergy, sustainability and trade-offs between the two."
    • "The project aims to analyse bioenergy developments and their implications for forests and people’s livelihoods."
    • "Determining the magnitude and location of biofuel investments in forest-rich countries will help to assess how these investments affect forests and people and how they can be made more sustainable."
    • "The GBIT offers data on national biofuel production and consumption obtained and collated from the International Energy Statistics database of the US Energy Information Administration."[32]
  • Sustainable Palm Oil Milestone Reached Ahead of Major WWF Evaluation, 1 September 2011 by Food Ingredients First: "The world’s largest sustainable palm oil body reached a major milestone last week in its on-going efforts to halt deforestation and bring sustainable palm oil to market – the millionth hectare of plantations has just been certified, an area roughly equivalent in size to the nation of Jamaica."
    • "The result comes as WWF prepares its second installment of the WWF Palm Oil Buyers' Scorecard, which tracks the progress of major brands on their commitments and actions on buying and using sustainable palm."
    • "Plantations owned by Brazil-based Agropalma, a leading producer of palm oil in South America, recently achieved certification against the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard, pushing the area of certified palm oil plantations past the 1 million hectare mark."
    • "WWF worked with a group of NGOs and the palm oil industry to set up the RSPO in 2003. Certified sustainable palm oil has been available since November 2008, and provides assurance that valuable tropical forests have not been cleared and that environmental and social safeguards have been met during the production of the palm oil."[33]
  • U.S. DOE releases Billion-Ton Study follow-up report, 9 August 2011 by Biomass Power and Thermal: "A follow-up report to the U.S. DOE’s 2005 'Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply,' commonly referred to as the Billion-Ton Study, has found consistency with the original in terms of magnitude of resource potential under the same assumptions."
    • "But the follow up, 'U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry,' finds differences in specific feedstock availability and includes a number of elements the Billion-Ton Study did not."
    • "The initial Billion-Ton Study sought to determine whether the land resources in the United States are capable of producing a sustainable supply of biomass to displace 30 percent or more of the country’s petroleum consumption by 2030. The goal would require 1 billion tons annually, the report found, and concluded that the nation could produce 1.3 billion tons per year, about 1 billion from agricultural biomass and 368 million tons from forestlands."
    • "The forest residue potential in the updated report is determined to be somewhat less than in the original, as measured by the unused resources and by properly accounting for pulpwood and sawlog markets that provide the demand and the residue, the report states. The crop residue potential is also determined to be less because of the update’s consideration of soil carbon in crop residue removal, as well as the omission of any residue produced on land that is conventionally tilled."[34]
  • EU gets tough on dirty biofuel, pledges more action, 19 July 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's energy chief announced seven green certification schemes for biofuels on Tuesday and promised in future to tackle the unwanted side-effects of turning food into fuel."
    • "Guenther Oettinger said biofuels' indirect impacts were dangerous for the planet's carbon balance and food supply."
    • "The European Union agreed three years ago to get 10 percent of its road fuels from biofuels -- at a time when such fuels were widely regarded as good for the environment -- but since then controversy has raged in Europe over the target."
    • "Oettinger took a first step toward limiting biofuels' impact on the environment on Tuesday, launching a green standard to prevent companies from clearing forest, peatlands or grassland to grow biofuels for the European market."
    • "Critics say the EU's biofuel target creates an incentive for farmers to hack directly into forests to create space to grow fuel crops -- known as direct land use change."
    • "But they also charge that even biofuel crops planted in Europe can send shock waves through global food markets and indirectly promote deforestation -- indirect land use change."
    • "Recent research shows that when more food is needed, the majority of new farmland, possibly as much as 80 percent, comes from burning down forests."[35]
  • First EU sustainability schemes for biofuels get the go-ahead, 19 July 2011 press release by the European Commission: "In order to receive government support or count towards mandatory national renewable energy targets, biofuels used in the EU, whether locally produced or imported, have to comply with sustainability criteria. These criteria aim at preventing the conversion of areas of high biodiversity and high carbon stock for the production of raw materials for biofuels. In practice this means that biofuels made of crops that have been grown on land that used to be rainforest or natural grassland with a unique ecosystem cannot be considered as sustainable. In addition, the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole production chain need to be at least 35% lower compared to fossil fuels. That threshold will increase over time."
    • "Companies can choose whether to demonstrate compliance with these sustainability requirements through national systems or by joining a voluntary scheme which is recognised by the Commission."
    • "After a detailed assessment made by the Commission and various improvements the following schemes were recognised:
      • ISCC (German (government financed) scheme covering all types of biofuels)
      • Bonsucro EU (Roundtable initiative for sugarcane based biofuels, focus on Brazil)
      • RTRS EU RED (Roundtable initiative for soy based biofuels, focus on Argentina and Brazil)
      • RSB EU RED (Roundtable initiative covering all types of biofuels)
      • 2BSvs (French industry scheme covering all types of biofuels)
      • RSBA (Industry scheme for Abengoa covering their supply chain)
      • Greenergy (Industry scheme for Greenergy covering sugar cane ethanol from Brazil)
    • "The Commission is currently discussing with other voluntary schemes how these can also improve their standard in order to meet the sustainability requirements for biofuels."[36]
  • Not everyone cheering Lufthansa biofuel test, 15 July 2011 by The Local: "Lufthansa is testing biosynthetic fuels on Airbus A321 flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt and, if the trial is successful, hopes to expand use of the fuel across its fleet."
    • "The airline aims to reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions fleet-wide, although some environmentalists are skeptical."
    • "'The use of biofuel in the aviation sector to reduce CO2 emissions is an ecological sham,' said Werner Reh, of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)."
    • "In a statement, Reh complained that plans such as Lufthansa’s will just result in the mass expansion of crop cultivation necessary to create the biofuel mixture, leading to 'worldwide destruction of forests, loss of biodiversity and competition for food.'"
    • "The airline estimates it will save 1,500 tons of C02 during its tests which will cost €6.5 million ($9.1 million), about a third of which is being funded by the German government."[37]
  • Time to Substitute Wood Bioenergy for Nuclear Power in Japan, 6 July 2011 by Nophea Sasaki et al in the journal Energies.
    • Abstract: "Damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by the recent earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan should stimulate consideration of alternative sources of energy. In particular, if managed appropriately, the 25.1 million ha of Japanese forests could be an important source of wood biomass for bioenergy production. Here, we discuss policy incentives for substituting wood bioenergy for nuclear power, thereby creating a safer society while better managing the forest resources in Japan."[38]
  • UK scientists launch scathing criticism of EU biofuel targets, 2 June 2011 by The Ecologist: "A global 'land grab' and increased loss of forests and other natural ecosystems is being driven by European targets for more transport fuel to come from biofuels, say a group of prominent UK scientists."
    • "The biofuels target was originally designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions but in a letter sent to the transport minister Philip Hammond, and seen by the Ecologist, 19 prominent scientists from across the UK say crop-based biofuels will actually 'substantially increase emissions'."
    • "According to the scientists, in a rush to promote biofuels both the UK and EU had failed to take account of two factors - the high-use of nitrogen fertilisers and land-use change brought about by the increasing demand for land to grow biofuel crops instead of food."
    • "'The additional demand for grains, oilseeds and sugars brought about by increased biofuel production will indirectly bring about the conversion of land currently under forest or other natural ecosystem into agricultural land, with the concomitant release into the atmosphere of carbon stored in trees and soil,' says the letter."[39]
  • Statistical confirmation of indirect land use change in the Brazilian Amazon, 24 May 2011 by Eugenio Y Arima, Peter Richards, Robert Walker and Marcellus M Caldas in Environmental Research Letters; from the Abstract:
    • "Expansion of global demand for soy products and biofuel poses threats to food security and the environment. One environmental impact that has raised serious concerns is loss of Amazonian forest through indirect land use change (ILUC), whereby mechanized agriculture encroaches on existing pastures, displacing them to the frontier. This phenomenon has been hypothesized by many researchers and projected on the basis of simulation for the Amazonian forests of Brazil....The present article [utilizes] a spatial regression model capable of linking the expansion of mechanized agriculture in settled agricultural areas to pasture conversions on distant, forest frontiers. In an application for a recent period (20032008), the model demonstrates that ILUC is significant and of considerable magnitude. Specifically, a 10% reduction of soy in old pasture areas would have decreased deforestation by as much as 40% in heavily forested counties of the Brazilian Amazon. Evidently, the voluntary moratorium on primary forest conversions by Brazilian soy farmers has failed to stop the deforestation effects of expanding soy production...."[40]
  • Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply, 19 May 2011 by BBC News: "Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says."
    • "Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil."
    • "Some environmentalists argue that rising demand for soy and cattle is prompting farmers to clear more of their land."
    • "But others see a direct link between the jump in deforestation and months of debate over easing an existing law on forest protection."
    • "'You have 300-400 lawmakers here in Brasilia sending the message that profiting from deforestation will be amnestied, that crime pays,' Marcio Astrini from Greenpeace told Reuters."[41]
  • Swedish forests spawn new 'green' diesel, 2 May 2011 by The Local: "In recent years, rising concerns over traditional fuel’s harmful pollutants sparked a global rage for biofuels derived from biomass ranging from discarded corn husks to animal fats."
    • "Earlier this year, Preem, a leading Swedish oil company, emerged as the world’s first company to offer an innovative biodiesel made from tall oil, a renewable by-product of the forestry industry."
    • "Known as Preem Evolution Diesel, this green diesel is composed of about one fifth raw material and according to the company, cuts carbon emissions by 16 percent when compared to traditional diesel, which corresponds to the leading carbon emissions rate-cut of any biodiesel on the market."
    • "Whereas most biodiesels on the market today offer a blend of 5 percent renewable material, Preem’s Evolution is a mix that consists of about 15 percent tall oil and 5 percent rapeseed oil, setting a new global height for renewable content"
    • "'It is a good product, but we should also be aware that the world’s tall oil (supply) is very limited and this blend will only serve a fraction of the need,' says Lars Lind, a biofuel expert employed with the Swedish specialty chemical company Perstorp."[42]
  • World's largest beef company signs Amazon rainforest pact, 29 April 2011 by Mongabay.com: "The world's largest meat processor has agreed to stop buying beef from ranches associated with slave labor and illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, according to the public prosecutor's office in the state of Acre. The deal absolves JBS-Friboi from 2 billion reals ($1.3 billion) in potential fines and paves the way for the firm to continue selling meat to companies concerned about their environmental reputation."
    • "Under the terms of the deal, JBS agreed to stop buying cattle from areas embargoed by environmental inspection agencies and lands classified as conservation units or indigenous territories, unless the management plans of those areas allow for livestock. Cattle production often occurs illegally in forests zoned for conservation or indigenous use and squatters are used as proxies to grab the land. JBS will also not buy cattle from ranches that have been convicted of labor abuses, including slave labor."
    • "The deal could help curtail deforestation for cattle production — which accounts for the bulk of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon — but its effectiveness still hinges on local governance, where corruption remains a problem."[43]
  • Palm oil lobby attacks World Bank's new social and environmental safeguards, 18 April 2011 by Mongabay.com: "Groups funded by the palm oil industry lashed out at the World Bank's new framework to resume lending to the palm oil sector."
    • "World Growth International and the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), groups that advocate on behalf of the industrial palm oil sector, blasted the World Bank for including social and environmental safeguards as guiding principles for lending to the palm oil sector. The World Bank said it would prioritize investments that 'support smallholders and foster benefit sharing with rural communities.'"
    • "By some estimates, more than half of oil palm expansion since 1990 occurred at the expense of forests, spurring criticism from environmentalists concerned about greenhouse gas emissions and loss of habitat for endangered wildlife—including orangutans, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos and tigers. Oil palm plantation development has also at times exacerbated conflicts over land."
    • The Bank's new framework for palm oil engagement elevates radical ideological opposition to agriculture development above the needs of the poor and hungry in Africa,' said Thompson Ayodele, IPPA Director, in a press release."[44]
  • Sugarcane Cools Climate, Study Finds, 17 April 2011 by Science Daily: "Brazilians are world leaders in using biofuels for gasoline. About a quarter of their automobile fuel consumption comes from sugarcane, which significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions that otherwise would be emitted from using gasoline. Now scientists from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology have found that sugarcane has a double benefit. Expansion of the crop in areas previously occupied by other Brazilian crops cools the local climate. It does so by reflecting sunlight back into space and by lowering the temperature of the surrounding air as the plants 'exhale' cooler water."
    • "The scientists found that converting from natural vegetation to crop/pasture on average warmed the cerrado by 2.79 °F (1.55 °C), but that subsequent conversion to sugarcane, on average, cooled the surrounding air by 1.67 °F (0.93°C)."
    • "The researchers emphasize that the beneficial effects are contingent on the fact sugarcane is grown on areas previously occupied by crops or pastureland, and not in areas converted from natural vegetation. It is also important that other crops and pastureland do not move to natural vegetation areas, which would contribute to deforestation."[45]
    • See the full study in the journal Nature Climate Change, "Direct impacts on local climate of sugar-cane expansion in Brazil"
  • Thune Reintroduces Legislation to Encourage Biofuel Production from National Forests, 11 April 2011 press release by South Dakota Senator John Thune: "Senator John Thune has reintroduced legislation (S.781) to fix the flawed definition of 'Renewable Biomass' included in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, which currently excludes any material removed from national forests and most private forestlands. Under the EISA definition, cellulosic ethanol derived from this feedstock does not count toward the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) when it is used to produce biofuels, which discourages blenders and refiners from purchasing biofuels produced from these readily available sources."
    • "This proposed legislation would change the definition of 'Renewable Biomass' to more closely conform to renewable biomass definitions found in earlier versions of the RFS and the 2008 Farm Bill definition, which included waste material from national forests and private forestland."
    • "According to a 2005 U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture study, about two billion tons of treatable biomass on federal forestland is available for bioenergy production."[46]
  • Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land Use and Food Supply, 6 April 2011 by Journalist Resource: "The increased global production of biofuels such as ethanol has become a subject of controversy, as land formerly dedicated to the growing of food crops is repurposed to meet energy needs. Each year, more crops such as sugar, palm oil, corn and cassava are diverted for these purposes."
    • "A paper by the World Bank, 'The Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply,' uses land-allocation information from the biofuels production sectors to determine the levels of competition between biofuels and food industries for agricultural commodities. The authors model the potential effects of increased biofuels production to meet current national targets."
    • "The paper’s findings include:
      • Expanding global biofuels production to meet current national biofuels targets would generally reduce global GDP between 0.02% and 0.06%, with the national GDP impacts varying across countries.
      • Significant Expansion in biofuels production would necessitate substantial land re-allocation, resulting in as much a 5% decreases in forest and pasture lands.
      • The expansion of biofuels would likely cause a 1% reduction in global food supply.
      • The magnitude of the impact on food costs is not as large as perceived earlier — sugar, corn and oil seeds would experience 1% to 8% price increases by 2020 — but increases would be significant in developing countries such as India and those in Sub-Saharan Africa."[47]
  • World Bank lifts moratorium on palm oil investments, 1 April 2011 by Reuters: "The World Bank on Friday lifted an 18-month global moratorium on lending for new palm oil investments, endorsing a new strategy that focuses on supporting small farmers that dominate the sector."
    • "After meeting with 3,000 stakeholders, including farmers, environmental and social groups, and businesses, the World Bank's private-sector lender, the International Finance Corp (IFC), said palm oil investments could contribute to economic growth and reduce poverty, while also being eco-friendly."
    • "Palm oil employs over six million rural poor around the globe. Some 70 percent of palm oil production is used as staple cooking oil by the poor in Asia and Africa."
    • "Palm oil companies have said the industry has been unfairly vilified for cutting down forests and draining peatlands -- contributing to huge amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide entering into the atmosphere."[48]
  • Norway to continue palm oil investments, 30 March 2011 by MongaBay.com: "Norway's $550 billion sovereign wealth fund will continue investing in Asian palm oil companies despite criticism from environmental groups, reports Reuters."
    • "Runar Malkenes, Deputy Director of the Information Division at Norway's Ministry of Finance, told Reuters that while the fund will continue to invest in the sector, it may exclude palm oil companies that cause egregious environmental damage."
    • "Last year Norway divested its holdings in Samling, a Malaysian company associated with destructive logging practices and social conflict with indigenous groups in Malaysian Borneo."
    • "The fund, which invests revenues from the country's oil and gas industry, held 2.4 billion Norwegian crowns ($430 million) worth of palm oil-related stocks as of the end of last year."
    • "Norway's statement comes a week after Indonesian activist group Greenomics criticized Norway for continuing to hold stakes in several palm oil companies linked to deforestation, including Golden Agri Resources (GAR), which owns PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART], a firm that had been targeted for Greenpeace over destruction of rainforests and peatlands in Borneo."[49]
  • Counting the carbon cost of peatland conversion, 7 March 2011 by Nature News: "Up to 6% of carbon-rich peat-swamp forests had been cleared in Peninsular Malaysia and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra to make way for oil-palm plantations by the early 2000s, according to a study published today. The clearances, a response to rising demand for food and biofuel, released as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the entire UK transport sector does in a year."
    • "Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study is the first attempt to systematically assign a value to the carbon loss due to peatland destruction in Southeast Asia that can be attributed directly to conversion to oil-palm plantations."
    • "Malaysia and Indonesia (which includes Sumatra and parts of Borneo) are the world's largest suppliers of palm oil, accounting for 87% of global production in 2008."
    • "Like most forests, peat-swamp forests store large amounts of carbon above ground as biomass, and this is lost when the forest is cleared. They also store large amounts of carbon in their soils, as dead organic matter decomposes slowly under marshy conditions. Draining peatlands to create agricultural land oxidizes the soil and releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."
    • "For the first 25 years after an oil-palm plantation is established in a peat-swamp forest, about 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide are released per hectare every year, according to recent research."[51]
  • From embattled palm oil producer to industry leader: CSR veteran’s challenge for Golden Agri, 2 March 2011 by Eco-business.com: "In a recent interview, UK-based corporate sustainability veteran David Logan revealed that he is now working with Golden Agri-Resources (Golden Agri) on the firm’s first sustainability report."
    • "Golden Agri - which enjoys annual revenues of more than US$2 billion - has in recent years been in the glare of the public eye, with environmental groups such as Greenpeace campaigning against the firm over allegations of illegal forest clearing."
    • "Golden Agri commissioned an independent audit by Control Union Certification and BSI Group to investigate the allegations, but after the results were released both parties clashed on how the report should be interpreted."
    • "Golden Agri appointed strategic communications consultancy Pelham Bell Pottinger Asia, along with its sustainability specialist arm Corporate Citizenship, to help them deal with the situation. Mr Logan was involved in examining some of the challenges presented by the Greenpeace campaign, including the validity of the allegations and possible courses of action."[52]
  • Chaos at the Pumps - German Consumers Are Wary of New E10 Biofuel, 4 March 2011 by Der Spiegel: "Germany recently began introducing gasoline containing a higher percentage of biofuels. But consumers have so far been skittish, leading to production chaos and shortages of traditional gasoline. Some politicians have called for laws mandating that biofuels be scrapped altogether."
    • "It began as a plan to reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped into European skies. But a European Union directive requiring gas stations to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol content has hit a snag in Germany, where consumers are avoiding the new petrol -- known as E10 -- because it is harmful to some cars."
    • "The controversy looks set to trigger yet another debate over the feasibility of using biofuels on a large scale....Not only is significant energy used in the production of the fuel, but it isn't uncommon for forestland -- a natural absorber of CO2 -- to be clear-cut for the planting of biofuels crops. Critics have also questioned the use of farmland for automobile fuel in an age of skyrocketing food prices."[54]
  • Biowaste briquettes fuel drive to save trees, 22 February 2011 by SciDev.Net: "Banana stems, maize and other crop waste will be turned into charcoal briquettes in Uganda in an effort to reduce the number of trees chopped down for cooking fires."
    • "The project, funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), will train 600 farmers across the country to make briquettes using portable metal kilns that can be moved between farms, according to Maxwell Onapa, deputy executive secretary of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST)."
    • "A lack of modern and affordable fuels, such as gas, electricity and solar power, makes wood charcoal and firewood the preferred sources of domestic cooking fuel, but this is damaging the environment through deforestation and soil degradation, said Onapa."
    • "Frank Muramuzi, executive director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, warned: 'The project may not be sustainable because if they run out of the agricultural waste to manufacture the charcoal briquette, people will go back to cutting trees.'"[55]
  • Palm oil giant vows to spare most valuable Indonesian rainforest, 9 February 2011 by The Guardian: "Golden Agri-Resources Limited has committed itself to protecting forests and peatlands with a high level of biodiversity, or which provide major carbon sinks, as part of an agreement with conservation group the Forest Trust."
    • "However, the agreement announced on Wednesday will still leave GAR free to exploit other areas of forest, and land that is judged to be of lower conservation value."
    • "Scott Poynton, executive director of the Forest Trust, said 'It's about going to the root causes of deforestation – we have shown that the destruction of forests is anchored deeply in the supply chains of the products we consume in industrialised nations, and we are showing we can do something about that.'"
    • He said pressure from Nestlé, which last year drew up a set of sustainability guidelines and signalled that it would not accept palm oil from sources connected to deforestation, had been instrumental in bringing GAR to the table."
    • "Experts in Indonesia will be asked to judge whether GAR forests have "high conservation value" under guidance from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a coalition of the palm oil industry and conservation groups."[56]
  • Malaysian palm oil destroying forests, report warns, 2 February 2011 by the Guardian: "Study by Wetlands International claims level of palm oil-related deforestation in Malaysia is higher than previously thought."
    • "The report claims that between 2005 and 2010, almost 353,000 hectares of peat swamp forests were cleared – a third of Malaysia's total – largely for palm oil production."
    • "The clearing, draining and burning of peat swamp forests is responsible for about 10 per cent of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions, according to Wetlands International."
    • "Palm oil firms in Malaysia and Indonesia are under increasing pressure by major Western retailers and consumer goods brands, many of which use palm oil in their products, to halt the expansion of plantations that lead to forest clearance."
    • "Some Malaysian palm oil producers have also joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but strong demand from India and China for unsustainably sourced oil means others can avoid doing so without necessarily harming their market share."[57]
  • Palm Oil Plantations Embrace Biodiversity In Attempt To Change Environmentally Destructive Reputation, 20 January 2011 by The Huffington Post: "Palm oil plantations carry a history of controversy. The cash crop is used for fuel and food, but at the same time, it destroys rainforests. Also, compared to diverse forests, monoculture plantations do not trap greenhouse gases as efficiently."
    • "These challenges are no more visible than on the United International Enterprises Estate, located in the Majung District of Malaysia. The plantation has over 1.4 million trees. Unfortunately, they are all the same."
    • "A nature reserve has been created on the plantation, populated by rare trees. The manager's goal is to increase the plant diversity to 500 plant variations."
    • "The plantation is the first to be certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil Production, a group working to make palm oil more eco-friendly."[58]
  • Global biofuel land area estimated, 10 January 2011 by UPI.com: "University of Illinois researchers, using detailed land analysis, identified land around the globe available to produce grass crops for biofuels with minimal impact on agriculture or the environment."
    • "The Illinois study focused on marginal land for biofuel crops."
    • In their computer modeling, the researchers ruled out current crop land, pasture land, and forests."
    • "Researchers said an estimated land area of 2.7 million acres was available globally, an area that would produce 26 to 56 percent of the world's current liquid fuel consumption."[59]

2010

  • Germany relaxes rule on biofuel sustainability, 15 December 2010 by Michael Hogan: "Germany has temporarily relaxed rules requiring raw materials for biofuels come from sustainable output, a move which industry bodies said on Wednesday will smooth imports of rapeseed and rapeseed oil for biodiesel use."
    • "The directive aims to protect tropical rain forests being cut down for biofuel crop production. But German industry associations had feared the failure of other EU states to implement the rule on time would mean Germany would not have been able to import non-certified rapeseed and rapeseed oil from other EU states in 2011."
    • "Germany imports about two million tonnes of rapeseed annually for food and biodiesel production."
    • "'The change is limited to June 2011 so we now hope that other EU states will also introduce the EU directive otherwise we will be faced with the problem again,' the UFOP spokesman said."[60]
  • While Tax Package Richly Rewards Corn Ethanol, Senate Appropriators Propose Pulling Rug Out from Under Next Generation Bioenergy, 15 December 2010 by the National Wildlife Federation: "While the Senate approved a tax package today that includes a $5-billion subsidy for corn ethanol, five lines buried within the almost 2000-page Senate Omnibus appropriations bill unveiled yesterday sound a death knell for next generation bioenergy crops at a critical time for the industry. The omnibus bill proposes to zero out funding for a key program to support development of the next generation of biofuels and bioenergy based on grasses and trees."
    • "The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), enacted as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, has been eagerly awaited by the next generation bioenergy industry as a critical link in making biomass based energy a reality by helping with the “chicken and the egg” problem of ensuring an adequate supply of tree and grass crops to fuel biomass energy facilities. The program would provide annual payments for five years to offset the risk to the landowner of trying these new crops, as well as assistance with the cost of establishing the new crops."
    • "While Senate appropriators claim that it was their intent to deeply cut, rather than to eliminate the BCAP, the language included in the bill would eliminate all funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2011."
  • Deforestation 'not so important for climate change' , 8 December 2010 by New Scientist: "Climate negotiations were dealt a bombshell at the weekend when ecologists reported that carbon emissions from the destruction of tropical forests are probably only half previous estimates."
    • "[T]he findings seriously question the only success so far of the UN negotiations on curbing climate change under way in Cancún, Mexico. If cutting down trees emits far less CO2 than we thought, where's the incentive to stop chopping?"
    • "Four years ago, the UN's Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change estimated that deforestation was responsible for up to 20 per cent of CO2 emissions. A more recent study...revised that down to 15 per cent for the period 2000 to 2005."
    • "But now ecologists at Winrock International, a respected US consultancy based in Arlington, Virginia, whose work was funded by the World Bank and the Norwegian government, says a more detailed analysis puts the figure for 2000 to 2005 at around 8 per cent, with a possible range between 5 and 12 per cent."
    • "The analysis, which has yet to be formally published, used...a laser-radar satellite measurement technique known as lidar and 4000 carbon inventories from forest plots on the ground."[61]
  • Scientists Spar With Defender of Palm Oil and Pulp Firms, 29 October 2010 by New York Times' Dot Earth Blog: "A dozen scientists focused on the diversity and health of tropical forests released a letter this week describing what they say are deceptive statements made by two groups working on behalf of palm oil, timber and pulp interests. In the document, 'An Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of Tropical Forests,' the scientists strongly criticize the groups, World Growth International (WGI), a nonprofit organization, and International Trade Strategies Global (ITS), a consultancy on international trade issues. Here are a couple of their complaints:"
    • "A recent technical report by ITS concluded that 'There is no evidence of substantial deforestation' in Papua New Guinea, a conclusion strongly at variance with quantitative, remote-sensing studies of forest conversion published in the refereed scientific literature. Reports from WGI and ITS routinely claim that newly established oil palm plantations sequester carbon more rapidly than do old-growth rainforests."
    • "This claim, while technically correct, is a distraction from the reality that mature oil palm plantations store much less carbon than do old-growth rainforests (plantations store just 40-80 tons of biomass aboveground, half of which is carbon, compared to 200-400 tons of aboveground biomass in old-growth rainforests)."[62]
  • World Bank report: demand for biofuels and animal feed is causing land grabs, 8 September 2010 by Friends of The Earth: "On the launch of a new World Bank report today (8 September 2010) in which the Bank explicitly identifies biofuels as one of the driving forces of land grabs in Africa and acknowledges its detrimental impact on local livelihoods, Friends of the Earth renews its call on rich countries to drop their biofuels targets and invest in planet-friendly farming."
    • "Mariann Bassey, African food and agriculture coordinator for Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said: 'The World Bank is backing the practice of nations selling vast agricultural lands to foreign investors, despite evidence that the expansion of industrial farming is trashing rainforests, increasing emissions, and pushing up global food prices.'"
    • "Last week Friends of the Earth released new research showing that the scale of land grabbing in Africa for biofuel production was underestimated and out of control...Even more land will be required for biofuels if the European Union is to reach its target of obtaining 10 per cent of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020, it says."[65]
  • Greens Warn World Bank Over Palm Oil Funding, 5 September 2010 by Jakarta Globe: "Environmental groups Greenpeace and Sawit Watch have called on the World Bank to extend its international suspension of financing for the palm oil sector unless producers meet environmental criteria."
    • "Jefri Saragih, head of Sawit’s campaign in Indonesia, said on Sunday that the World Bank must provide palm oil makers with clear guidelines on what they must do to reduce their industry’s impact on global warming."
    • "Environmental groups have been making a stir with campaigns accusing palm oil firms of illegal deforestation, with Sinar Mas Group being boycotted by some of its top buyers."
    • "On Thursday, US fast food giant Burger King said it would stop buying palm oil from the firm and its subsidiaries after Greenpeace mounted a successful campaign against Sinar Mas’s land-clearing practices."
    • "Unilever and Nestle earlier dropped the supplier over the criticism."
    • "Since 1965, the World Bank has channeled nearly $2 billion for 45 projects in the palm oil sector in 12 nations across Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia."
    • "Indonesia has been a major focus of the financing, receiving $618.8 million of the total funding. The World Bank suspended the financing in September 2009 over environmental concerns."[66]
  • Banks Grow Wary of Environmental Risks, 31 August 2010 by New York Times: "After years of legal entanglements arising from environmental messes and increased scrutiny of banks that finance the dirtiest industries, several large commercial lenders are taking a stand on industry practices that they regard as risky to their reputations and bottom lines."
  • In Defense of Biomass, 11 August 2010 by 25 x 25: "Over the past several years, the production of biomass for use as renewable energy has elicited criticism from some on Capitol Hill and from some in the environmental community who have drawn their conclusions from flawed assumptions and misconstrued data."
    • "The latest assault is focused on greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources and more specifically how they should be calculated. Farm and forestry bioenergy feedstock suppliers and their partners along the value-chain are being aggressively challenged about the ways in which they measure and account for the differences between bioenergy pathways and fossil fuel pathways."
    • "In response, the 25x’25 Alliance has created a new work group that will develop recommendations for how greenhouse emissions (GHGs) from biomass energy development should be calculated. The mission of the Work Group is to develop a set of overarching bioenergy accounting principles that policy makers and regulators can use to assess the GHGs from bioenergy and other biogenic sources."
    • "The EPA is currently soliciting information and viewpoints to help the agency address the issue of the carbon neutrality of biogenic energy. The agency has imposed a Sept. 13 deadline for the public comment period, and the Work Group’s first priority is to study the issue of biogenic emissions and provide EPA with information and recommendations."[68]
  • Fight Gears Up on Biomass, 27 July 2010 by the New York Times "Green" blog: "There is evidently no form of energy, including renewable energy, that lacks opposition. A big spat right now centers on biomass power plants."
    • "Biomass is a broad category that encompasses everything from burning whole trees to burning leftover wood chips, agricultural residues or household garbage. The focus of the argument is currently in Massachusetts, where state regulators are considering raising the bar for biomass plants."
    • "Supporters say that cutting down trees to make electricity is carbon-neutral, because the trees will regrow and absorb carbon dioxide from the air. But a recent study suggests that the trees will take years to do that, offering little short-term help."
    • "Now a group in Cambridge, Mass., is mounting a more direct assault on harnessing biomass: the Biomass Accountability Project is trotting out experts in medicine and forestry to argue against such power generators."
    • "Margaret Sheehan, a lawyer with the group, says that even if new biomass plants meet all Environmental Protection Agency regulations on air emissions, generation could still endanger human health because the standards are inadequate. For emissions of very small soot particles, she said, 'there is no safe known limit.'"[69]
  • Klobuchar bill: trojan horse for bad biofuels, 14 July 2010, Nathanael Greene’s Blog/NRDC: "It should come as no surprise that the first copy of the full text of Sen Klobuchar's energy bill was found on a corn ethanol industry association website; the bill reads like the industry's wish list."
    • "Today's corn ethanol is mature and mainstream and, unfortunately, generally causes more global warming pollution than gasoline. Klobuchar's bill would lavish over $30 billion on the ethanol and oil industries, it would pull the rug out from under entreprenours trying to develop cleaner, advanced biofuels, and it would threaten forests across our country..."
    • "Here are some of laundry list of bad biofuel provisions:
  • "Gutting the definition of renewable biomass so that it would include everything from old growth to garbage..."
  • "Legislating away the science of lifecycle GHG accounting for ethanol. Using lots of land to make ethanol instead of food means that food production moves to new land and that leads to deforestation."
  • "Defining mature and mainstream corn ethanol, which has been commercially produced for well over 30 years as an 'advanced biofuel' under the RFS2."[70]
Sketch of an apparatus for testing biofuel potential of various agricultural wastes, created by the RPI spring 2010 biomass capstone group. Image from The New York Times blog article A New Approach to Biofuel in Africa
  • A New Approach to Biofuel in Africa, 12 July 2010 by Ron Eglash: "The biofuel concept: If you just burn plant materials, you put out a lot of bad pollutants. But if you heat the materials in a container without oxygen (“pyrolysis”), you leave most of the carbon as “biochar,” which makes an excellent soil additive (in fact Amazon Indians built up rich soils over hundreds of years using biochar). The gas that is given off by pyrolysis can be processed into clean-burning fuel."
    • "All of which sounds great, but skeptics point out that Africa is a prime target for biofuel land grabs, which destroy small farms and forest preserves. Hence the importance of using agricultural residues like corn cobs, and researching the impact."[71]
  • New Rules May Cloud the Outlook for Biomass, 9 July 2010 by New York Times: "An energy technology that has long been viewed as a clean and climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuels is facing tough new regulatory hurdles that could ultimately hamper its ability to compete with renewable power sources like wind and solar."
    • "There is opposition to a proposed biomass power plant in Russell, Mass. Critics of the technology fear the use of wood products for fuel would create a rapacious industry and threaten forests."
    • "[A] long-simmering debate in Massachusetts questioning the environmental benefits of biomass has culminated in new rules that will limit what sorts of projects will qualify for renewable energy incentives there....The new proposals would, among other things, require the projects to provide 'significant near-term greenhouse gas dividends.'"
    • Biomass power, "a $1 billion industry in the United States...has long been considered both renewable and carbon-neutral on its most basic level."
    • "But many environmental groups say that the benefits of biomass power — and all forms of energy derived from organic sources, including biofuels — are realized only in carefully controlled circumstances. The cycle of carbon emission and absorption also unfolds over long periods of time that need to be carefully monitored."[72]
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Awards Woody Biomass Utilization Projects, 24 June 2010 by the USDA: "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the award of more than $4.2 million in grants to 13 small businesses and community groups developing innovative renewable energy projects and new product development using woody biomass from hazardous fuel reduction projects on National Forest land."
    • "'Energy derived from woody biomass, switch-grass and other sources has enormous potential benefits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing clean, home-grown energy, and providing economic opportunities for rural America,' Vilsack said. 'Markets for woody biomass can also bolster forest restoration activities on both public and private lands, improving the ecological health of our forests and reducing the impacts of global climate change.'"
    • "In Arizona, for example, Cooley Forest Products will purchase a mobile canter saw allowing them to process small logs at a forest landing, thereby reducing transportation costs. West Range Reclamation in Colorado can now acquire a delimber/debarker allowing them to efficiently process beetle-killed trees."
    • "Earlier this week, Vilsack released a report which provided a roadmap on how America can meet the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2)."[73]
  • The Rainforest Alliance Releases New Verification Mark to Recognize Achievements in Sustainability, 23 June 2010 by Environmental News Network: "The Rainforest Alliance today released its new verification mark to recognize businesses and projects that have achieved significant and measurable sustainability milestones. The new mark is awarded to forest carbon projects and tourism and certain forestry enterprises that meet standards developed by the Rainforest Alliance itself or by other organizations with which the Rainforest Alliance is aligned."
    • A key issue is "verification of the legality of wood sources, which is particularly important since illegal logging throughout the world continues to undermine efforts to promote social equity, environmental conservation and sustainable economic growth in many nations."
    • "For nearly 20 years the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal has been used to designate farms and forestlands that meet the rigorous, third-party standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network or the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards for environmental, social and economic sustainability are developed through an independent, participatory process."[74]
  • Net Benefits of Biomass Power Under Scrutiny, 18 June 2010 by Tom Zeller Jr. from The New York Times: "Matthew Wolfe, an energy developer with plans to turn tree branches and other woody debris into electric power, sees himself as a positive force in the effort to wean his state off of planet-warming fossil fuels."
    • "[P]ower generated by burning wood, plants and other organic material, which makes up 50 percent of all renewable energy produced in the United States, according to federal statistics, is facing increased scrutiny and opposition."
    • "Biomass proponents say it is a simple and proved renewable technology based on natural cycles. They acknowledge that burning wood and other organic matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just as coal does, but point out that trees and plants also absorb the gas. If done carefully, and without overharvesting, they say, the damage to the climate can be offset."
    • "But opponents say achieving that sort of balance is almost impossible, and carbon-absorbing forests will ultimately be destroyed to feed a voracious biomass industry fueled inappropriately by clean-energy subsidies. They also argue that, like any incinerating operation, biomass plants generate all sorts of other pollution, including particulate matter. State and federal regulators are now puzzling over these arguments."[76]
  • Magically carbon neutral biomass, evil EPA rules and other myths, 18 June 2010 by Nathanael Greene on the NRDC Switchboard blog: "The [biomass] industry has convinced policymakers that no matter how much carbon is 'spent' when biomass is burned for energy, there will magically be enough income in the form of regrowth to cover all expenses. Because of this magic, the industry would have us categorically exclude their emissions when we do our carbon accounting."
    • Recent climate and energy bills "buy into this magically carbon neutral source of energy. The European Union has done it too."
    • "So how did the biomass industry and its supporters...react recently when EPA said it was going to account for the emissions column of the ledger as part of its rules governing which facilities will be covered by the Clean Air Act? Sadly, with willful misinterpretation."
    • A recent Massachusetts report "makes it very clear that most forest biomass is not carbon neutral."
    • "The ultimate solution is a comprehensive climate and energy bill that requires careful accounting of all carbon, including the carbon released and absorbed by biomass."[77]
  • Commission sets up system for certifying sustainable biofuels, 10 June 2010 by European Union @ United Nations: "On 10 June 2010, the Eurpopean Commission decided to encourage industry, governments and NGOs to set up certification schemes for all types of biofuels, including those imported into the EU."
    • "This will help implement the EU's requirements that biofuels must deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and should not come from forests, wetlands and nature protection areas. The rules for certification schemes are part of a set of guidelines explaining how the Renewable Energy Directive, coming into effect in December 2010, should be implemented."
    • "Biofuels must deliver greenhouse gas savings of at least 35% compared to fossil fuels, rising to 50% in 2017 and to 60%, for biofuels from new plants, in 2018."[78]
  • Mass. study: Wood power worse polluter than coal, 10 June 2010 by Associated Press: "A new study has found that wood-burning power plants using trees and other 'biomass' from New England forests releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than coal over time."
    • "The report, conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, concludes that the net cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases from replacing coal-fired plants with biomass would be 3 percent greater by 2050 than from using coal to generate electricity."
    • "Researchers arrived at the figure by comparing how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of wood — what they termed 'carbon debt' — with the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere from the regrowth of forests, or 'carbon dividends.'"
    • "The report found that harvesting trees for biomass facilities could have 'significant localized impacts on the landscape, including aesthetic impacts of locally heavy harvesting as well as potential impacts on recreation and tourism.'"
    • "The study has broad policy implications for states like Massachusetts. And environmental groups called the study 'a wake up call.'"[80]
  • Cars and People Compete for Grain, 1 June 2010 by Earth Policy Institute: "Historically the food and energy economies were separate, but now with the massive U.S. capacity to convert grain into ethanol, that is changing....If the fuel value of grain exceeds its food value, the market will simply move the commodity into the energy economy."
    • "For every additional acre planted to corn to produce fuel, an acre of land must be cleared for cropping elsewhere. But there is little new land to be brought under the plow unless it comes from clearing tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Congo basins and in Indonesia or from clearing land in the Brazilian cerrado."[82]
  • Indonesia puts moratorium on new forest clearing, 27 May 2010 by Reuters: "Indonesia will place a two-year moratorium on new concessions to clear natural forests and peatlands under a deal signed with Norway aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, the government said in a statement."
    • Under a bilateral agreement, "Norway will invest $1 billion in forest conservation projects in Indonesia."
    • "The suspension would encourage the development of new plantations 'on degraded lands rather than vulnerable forests and peatlands'."
    • "Palm oil firms such as Wilmar and Indofood Agri Resources have big expansion plans in Indonesia, already the largest producer of an oil used to make everything from biscuits to soap."
    • "Part of Norway's $1 billion will be spent on creating monitoring systems and pilot projects under a U.N.-backed forest preservation scheme called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)."[83]
  • Scientists to Congress & Obama: count the carbon in biomass, 24 May 2010 blog post by Nathanael Greene at the Natural Resource Defense Council: "Today a group of leading scientists from across the country sent a letter to congressional leaders and Obama officials urging them to carefully count the carbon from biomass burned for energy as part of a comprehensive climate bill or any other legislation or regulation. The letter makes abundantly clear that failing to do so risks sacrificing forests around the globe and putting more pollution into the atmosphere, not less."
    • "[T]he American Power Act (APA) proposed by Senators Kerry and Lieberman provides a solid framework for reducing our global warming pollution and investing in a cleaner economy. Unfortunately, as proposed, the bill would turn a blind eye towards emissions from biomass combustion, threatening to significantly undermine the bills carbon reduction goals."[85]
  • Biomass Energy Juggernaut Threatens Human and Forest Health, 20 May 2010 blog post by George Wuerthner on NewWest.net: "The long awaited Kerry-Lieberman energy bill known as The America Power Act has, among other goodies for industry, a clause that legally defines biomass incineration as 'carbon-neutral' and 'renewable.'"
    • This "poses a real threat to our forest ecosystem, human health, and global planetary climate."
    • "Since many government entities from local cities to states now require renewable energy as part of their energy portfolios, defining wood energy as a renewable energy creates a direct economic windfall profit for the timber industry."
    • "Because of its low energy content, burning wood releases 1.5 times smokestack CO2 than burning coal to produce the same amount of energy." Also, "recent research suggests that logging disturbance of forest soils can increase carbon losses as well."[86]
  • New publication explains how Europe can harvest more wood to reach its sustainable energy goals by 2020, 18 May 2010 by UNECE: "According to a new publication, if Europe is to achieve its renewable energy objective of 20% by 2020, it must step up the supply of wood from its sustainably managed forests."
    • "The publication, Good Practice Guidance on the Sustainable Mobilization of Wood in Europe [PDF file], gives an overview of measures that countries can take to mobilize their wood resources."
    • "Good Practice Guidance sets out general principles to be applied in wood mobilization, such as avoiding the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and making a maximum amount of market information available to all the stakeholders."
    • "'We hope that this publication will illustrate the enormous potential that wood has for a sustainable energy future,' said Paola Deda, head of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section. 'In the European Union today, over 50% of renewable energy sources come from wood'."
    • "In the 56-country UNECE region, industry and Governments are already acting to mobilize wood sustainably.'"
    • "According to Ms. Deda, 'the publication will particularly contribute to implementing the resolution on "Forests, wood and energy", which was adopted in 2007 by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe....It also contributes to the objective of the EU Forest Action Plan to promote the use of forest biomass for energy generation'."[87]
  • Rainforests Lose Out in Senate's New Climate Bill, 18 May 2010 by Time: "The climate bill passed by the House of Representatives last June set an ambitious goal of conserving the carbon trapped in forests equal to 10% of U.S. emissions, and in doing so, set aside 5% of total emissions allowance value from carbon auctions, which could bring $3 to $5 billion a year, to the protection of forests in developing nations."
    • "But while the Kerry-Lieberman bill in the Senate has the same broad goal for conserving forests, it devotes no specific funds to stopping deforestation."
    • "The Senate bill also excludes private sector investment in rainforest conservation for the next 10 years. Under the House bill, private companies that invest in rainforest offsets — paying to keep trees standing in tropical countries — could generally claim credits against their carbon cap. Under the Senate bill, they won't be able to do so, for the most part, unless tropical nations already have a national or state-level deforestation cap in place, which will likely take years to develop."
    • "That's a major blow to the development of a global conservation process called REDD...which would allow developed countries to invest in rainforest protection in the tropical world in exchange for carbon credits."
    • "Although the Senate bill does give the President the authority to designate up to 5% of carbon revenue to deforestation or other international aims within the context of a global deal, which is meaningful, it's not as effective as specifically dedicating money to stop deforestation. Further, limiting REDD in a U.S. climate bill could make getting a global deal — already a near impossible challenge — even tougher. REDD was one of the few areas that showed glimmers of promise at the chaotic U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last December....But as the Senate bill stands now, REDD could end up dead."[88]
  • Nestle caves to activist pressure on palm oil , 17 May 2010 by Mongabay.com: "After a two month campaign against Nestle for its use of palm oil linked to rainforest destruction spearheaded by Greenpeace, the food giant has given in to activists' demands. The Swiss-based company announced today in Malaysia that it will partner with the Forest Trust, an international non-profit organization, to rid its supply chain of any sources involved in the destruction of rainforests." A company press release stated that "Nestle wants to ensure that its products have no deforestation footprint."
    • "Nestle stated that under new sourcing guidelines it will only use palm oil suppliers that do not break local laws, protect high conservation forests and any forests with 'high carbon' value, protect carbon-important peatlands, and support free prior and informed consent for indigenous and local communities."
    • "For its part, Nestle has pledged that 100 percent of its palm oil will come from sustainable sources by 2015. Currently 18 percent of Nestle's palm oil is from sustainably certified sources, but the company hopes to reach 50 percent by the end of 2011."[89]
    • Related: Read about Nestle's "Responsible Sourcing" guidelines
  • Lula Defends Biofuel Push in Amazon Region, 12 May 2010 by Latin American Herald Tribune: "Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is championing efforts to industrialize the Amazon region with initiatives such as the cultivation of palm oil for biofuel production."
    • "He said the initiative would end the state’s dependence on the timber market, considered a main culprit of Amazon deforestation, and hailed palm-oil plantations as environmentally friendly, saying they would re-use deforested areas."
    • The project is "[b]acked by the federal government and state-controlled energy giant Petrobras," and "would involve total investment of 1.3 billion reais ($702 million)."
    • "The Brazilian government estimates that close to 2,000 Para farmers would benefit from the project, which is expected to create 7,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs. The plan also involves improvements to roads and bridges that would benefit the entire region."[90]
  • GVEP International publishes a study on briquettes in Kenya, 4 May 2010 by Clair Marrey of HEDON Household Energy Network: "The study was conducted with the aim to investigate the success factors of briquette producers, as well as their current and potential impact on energy access in rural and peri-urban areas. "
    • "The impact of micro-scale briquette production on access to energy were discussed with regards to scale of usage and environmental impact in both peri-urban and rural areas. The study also investigates current and potential access to both modern and sustainable energy, with discussion on the options for feedstock and how these options affect environmental issues such as deforestation."[91]
  • Deforestation-free leather comes closer to reality in the Brazilian Amazon, 3 May 2010 by Mongabay.com: "Prominent leather buyers have developed a new traceability system to ensure that leather products from Brazil don't result in deforestation, reports the National Wildlife Federation, an NGO working to improve the environmental performance of the cattle industry in the Amazon."
    • "Under the terms of the protocol, meat packers must certify that all their direct suppliers have registered their farms — providing GPS coordinates of their holdings — by November 2010. Packers who fail to meet the criteria will be unable to sell leather to members of the Leather Working Group."
    • "Improving the traceability of beef and leather is significant because cattle ranching is the single largest driver of Amazon destruction: 80 percent of deforested land ends up as cattle pasture. Ranching is also Brazil's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions."[92]
  • Does growing soy destroy Amazon rainforest?, 16 April 2010 by Environmental Research Web: "In the first seven years of this century, around 19 million hectares of rainforest in the Legal Amazon region of Brazil were cut down. But the jury's out on the chief culprit behind this deforestation – some say it's the growth in cattle ranches while others believe it's increased cultivation of crops such as soy."
    • "Cattle ranching has boomed in the Brazilian Amazon since the late 1970s when state subsidies and infrastructure development kicked in. But export crops such as soy, which is mainly used in animal feed and cooking oil, have increased significantly over the last decade, encouraged by expanding world markets and government incentives. Today Brazil is one of the world's largest exporters of agricultural products."[94]
    • Read the full report, The role of pasture and soybean in deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon
  • The Scientists' Letter on the Copenhagen Commitment for Tropical Forests, April 2010 by the Union of Concerned Scientists on behalf of over 200 scientists: "The Scientists' Letter on the Copenhagen Commitment for Tropical Forests is a letter asking members of Congress to keep the commitment made by the United States in Copenhagen on December 16, 2009. There the United States promised $1 billion over 3 years for tropical forest conservation."
    • "Tropical forests contain half of all carbon stored in terrestrial vegetation, and clearing and degradation of tropical forests constitutes about 15% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. REDD+ [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation in Developing countries] can greatly strengthen measures to reduce carbon emissions, protect biodiversity, and provide other human benefits."
    • "REDD+ is an inexpensive solution relative to alternatives such as industrial energy efficiency or solar or nuclear power and an immediate solution too — $20 billion could cut emissions by half a billion tons and do so by 2020."
  • Flat-headed cat endangered by palm oil, April 2010 by MNN: "According to National Geographic, a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE has indicated that the flat-headed cat's habitat is rapidly being transformed into vast biofuel plantations."
    • "Native to the swampy peat forests of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the cats are nocturnal, elusive, tiny (they typically weigh between 3-5 pounds) and difficult to observe."
    • "Almost 70 percent of the area that historically provided good habitats for the flat-headed cat has already been converted into plantations, mostly for the purpose of growing biofuel. Furthermore, their remaining range has become fragmented, likely making it difficult for remote populations of the cat to breed with one another."
    • "The cat's predicament is not unique in the region where it lives. Tropical Southeast Asia has both one of the highest rates of biodiversity and highest rates of deforestation worldwide. Much of that deforestation is for the purpose of planting palms, a cash crop destined for the biofuel market."[95]
  • Biodiesel lobby: EU understates emissions from oil, 18 March 2010 by Reuters: "[B]iodiesel producers argue the EU's reference values for emissions from diesel and petrol are set too low. That's because they fail to take account of the rising use of unconventional fossil fuels such as Canadian tar sands and extra heavy oil."
    • "Emissions from unconventional oil are up to two-and-a-half times higher than ordinary crude, the [European Biodiesel Board] said, as more energy is used to extract it."
    • "Under the EU's renewable energy directive, biofuels must deliver emissions savings of at least 35 percent compared to fossil-based fuels to count toward the bloc's target of sourcing 10 percent of road transport fuels from renewables in 2020."
    • On the other hand environmental group activists like "Adrian Bebb, biofuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth [argue that], 'All the evidence suggests that Europe's demand for biofuels is causing untold deforestation, increased food prices, land conflicts and greenhouse gas emissions.'"
  • Nation's Forests Can Meet Demands for Energy, Bioproducts and Traditional Uses, 12 March 2010 by : "25x’25 has created a Wood-to-Energy Work Group that is bringing together major forestry, conservation and industry stakeholders in a series of roundtable discussions around current and future uses of wood. The goal of these discussions is the development of consensus recommendations on how best to increase and expand the role and contribution of the nation’s private and public forest lands to national energy needs while continuing to provide wood for traditional uses."
    • "[A] significant finding was that without major change in public land management policy, public lands will likely not contribute in any significant way as a source of supply for traditional wood product or biomass for energy. This shortfall in supply potential is particularly unfortunate given the potential gains in forest health, fire reduction and productivity on the public lands and the economic benefits to rural communities that could result from the wider use of their resources."
    • "[T]he participants agreed that if woody biomass is to contribute more to the nation’s energy future while also supplying all traditional uses, there must be more investment and expansion of short rotation woody crop production on marginal crop and pasture lands, including the use of genetically improved trees."[97]
  • Indonesia may open more forests to palm oil, 16 February 2010 by The Malaysian Insider: "As Indonesia looks for ways to meet its ambitious emissions-reduction targets, the Ministry of Forestry yesterday said it plans to issue a new regulation that would allow commercial forestry companies to plant crops such as palm oil in new concession areas."
    • "The regulation would stipulate that at least 49 per cent of forest concessions in question be used for planting commercial forests, while up to 21 percent could be planted in crops. The remaining 30 percent would be set aside for conservation and the use of local communities."
    • "A similar regulation was issued in 1999 but was withdrawn after many forestry companies planted more of their land in palm oil than permitted."
  • Palm oil plantations could be classified as forests, 8 February 2010 by The Ecologist: "European Commission guidance would allow biofuels to be labelled as sustainable even if forests have been destroyed to make way for the palm oil plantations."
    • "According to a leaked document from the European Commission, reclassifying palm plantations as forested land could be justified and allow it to meet sustainability criteria."
    • According to the document, this would mean "'for example, that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the criterion.'"
    • "Friends of the Earth said the plans, if accepted, would allow rainforest to be destroyed to make way for palm plantations and the resulting biofuel to still be classified as sustainable."
    • "The EU is due to publish a report on greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production in March 2010."[100]
  • World Bank, European governments finance illegal timber exports from Madagascar, 11 January 2010 by WildMadagascar.org: "...France, Holland, Morocco, and the World Bank have all been implicated in financing illegal logging operations in Madagascar's national parks over the past year. Even as foreign governments condemned the surge in illegal logging last year, many--either directly or through institutions they support--are shareholders in the very banks that have financed the export of illegal lumber".
    • "With so much capital tied up in existing stock, timber traders have come to rely on banks to finance their exports and their ongoing logging operations." [102]
International net loss and net gain in 'forest' by country for the period 1990-2005 (modified from the World Resources Institute)

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