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24 March 2011
Climate change

At www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8398320/Jatropha-biofuel-produces-si… March 22nd. The headline says it all – this particular biofuel creates more C02 than burning coal or oil. Third world countries are being encouraged by green western governments to reduce emissions and bring a halt to the destruction of rainforest – or any other wild and green place. Unfortunately, one green blunder seems to follow the other – and in this instance that is true as one of the countries set to grow jatropha for biofuels will only do this by destroying the natural environment (which we all know is what happened in Indonesia). It seems that Action Aid and the RSPB have found plantations in Kenya are making more money than growing crop plants but at the expense of C02 – which is between two and three times more than fossil fuel alternatives.

The problem is biofuels as a concept it would seem. Farmers switching to growing biofuel plants are shrinking the worlds food resources – but they are being paid more for biofuel than for food, and that is the incentive. At www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/biofuel-policy-is-causing-starv… the chairman of Nestles in Switzerland is said to have criticised politicians who are blaming financial speculators instead of tackling underlying imbalances in supply as a result of biofuel production. He was especially critical of the US agriculture secretary where 40 per cent of corn grown is going into ethanol production. EU policy is also at fault as it encourages the palm oil industry that has led to wholesale destruction of rainforest in countries such as Borneo – and the mass killing of animals such as orang utans. It seems mainstream media is at last starting to catch up with the blogosphere – which was reporting such absurdities months ago. Surprisingly, the comments at the end of the article are predominantly anti-Nestle and by and large pro-biofuels – which is a bit disappointing. Anything but real oil it seems for the faithful, and to hell with apes and the less well-off regions of the world.

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