11 Feb 2008

New report another blow to biofuels industry

11th Feb 2008

If palm oil is to be produced sustainably, the damaging effects of unjust policies and practices in the Indonesian plantation sector must be addressed.

Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall has welcomed today's report from a coalition of environmental groups highlighting the dangers of palm oil production for the global monoculture biofuel industry. The report, Losing Ground, published by Friends of the Earth, Sawit Watch and LifeMosiac, highlights the social and environmental problems that often arrives in areas of the world allocated for growing biofuel crops.

Dr. Wall, who was recently threatened with arrest (1) on a biofuel demonstration in London, and campaigned to save the rainforest rich Woodlark Island from being almost completely logged to make way for biofuel crops, (2)(3) said

"This report addresses the very critical issues surrounding the global rush to large-scale agrofuels. Indigenous communities around the world would eventually be threatened with severe food shortages since there will be no space left for subsistence farming. Furthermore, every litre of palm oil from a former rainforest does more damage to the environment than a litre of petrol. The benefit of producing biofuels is negligible compared to the havoc it wreaks. "

The report's conclusion finds that

'The unsustainable expansion of Indonesia's palm oil industry is leaving many indigenous communities without land, water or adequate livelihoods. Previously self-sufficient communities find themselves in debt or struggling to afford education and food. Traditional customs and culture are being damaged alongside Indonesia's forests and wildlife.

'Human rights - including the right to water, to health, the right to work, cultural rights and the right to be protected from ill-treatment and arbitrary arrest - are being denied in some communities.

'If palm oil is to be produced sustainably, the damaging effects of unjust policies and practices in the Indonesian plantation sector must be addressed.'

Dr. Wall continued

"Local people need land as sources of sustainable economic activity, we all need the forests to absorb CO2 and indigenous species, like our cousins the orangutan, needs them simply to survive in. This is often a matter of life and death for the world's poorest people, and we must keep up the pressure to ensure that biofuels come from sustainable sources which don't damage people's lives or our climate."

To read the summary of the report, go to www.foe.co.uk

For the whole report, please go to www.foe.co.uk


Notes for editors

(1) www.indymedia.org.uk (2) www.greenparty.org.uk (3) www.telegraph.co.uk

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