Biofuels : an unfolding disaster

Article by Dr Andrew Boswell

An overview review of critical social, human and climate issues prior to UNFCCC, Bali. Published in ECOS, the publication of the British Association of Nature Conservationists.


  1. See for example, 71% growth in predicted energy between 2003 and 2030, figures 8 and 10 in
  2. The flow of palm oil. Colombia- Belgium/Europe. A study from a human rights. Perspective, HREV/CBC,
  3. Massacres and paramilitary land seizures behind the biofuel revolution, Guardian, 5/06/07,
  4. Agrofuels – Towards a reality check in nine key areas – Biofuelwatch, Carbon Trade Watch/TNI, Corporate Europe Observatory, Econexus, Ecoropa,Grupo de Reflexión Rural, Munlochy Vigil, NOAH (Friends of the Earth Denmark), Rettet Den Regenwald and Watch Indonesia
  5. Stop the agrofuel craze!, GRAIN
  6. Agrofuels in Africa, The impacts on land, food and forests, African Biodiversity Network, July 2007,
  7. Agrofuels: Fuelling or Fooling Europe?, Friends of the Earth Europe, October 2007,
  8. Biofuelling Poverty, Why the EU Renewable-fuel targets may be disasterous for poor people, November 2007, Oxfam,
  9. Page 171, Stern Review, Chapter 7 Projecting the growth of greenhouse gas emissions
  10. Greenpeace, Protecting Papuan forests important to help avert climate catastrophe, August 2007,
  11. Malaysia calls for sustainable expansion of palm oil plantations, International Herald Tribune, 5/12/06,
  12. Policy, practice, pride and prejudice, Review of legal, environmental and social practices of oil palm plantation companies of the Wilmar Group in Sambas District, West Kalimantan (Indonesia), July 2007 report by Milieudefensie, Lembaga Gemawan and Kontak Rakyat Borneo,
  13. biofuelwatch alert –
  14. Uganda’s forests in the balance, World Birdwatch magazine, July 2007,
  15. eg at
  16. Birdlife International,
  17. Uganda scraps plan to cut rainforest for palm oil, Reuters,
  18. How the palm oil industry is Cooking the Climate, Greenpeace, Nov 2007,
  19. Various Press items on New Economics Foundation (NEF) “Up in Smoke? Asia and the Pacific,” report, November 19th 2007,
  20. Peat CO2, Wetlands International
  21. Press Release, researcher at the University of Leicester, Dr Susan Page, just been awarded €458,000 to study how to tackle this global climate change time bomb
  22. IPCC finally acknowledges the impact of degraded peatlands on climate change, Wetlands International,
  23. How the palm oil industry is Cooking the Climate, Greenpeace, Nov 2007,
  24. ‘N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels’, P.Crutzen et al, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics,
  25. Québec abandons ethanol, La Presse, 9th November 2007,
  26. Letter from five senior scientists to the head of IPCC, Dr R K Pachauri, October 30th 2007,
  27. Global food crisis looms as climate change and fuel shortages bite, John Vidal, Guardian, November 3rd 2007,
  28. Crop Prospects and Food Situation, UN FAO, October 2007,
  29. Lester Brown in briefing before US Senate : Massive Diversion of U.S. Grain to Fuel,
  30. UN rapporteur calls for biofuel moratorium,, 11th October 2007,
  31. Biofuels may cause even more starvation, Jacqui McCarney, One World Column,
  32. Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, statement to UN,
  33. Mark W. Rosegrant and others, “Biofuels and the global food balance”, IFPRI, 2006,
  34. Surging Wheat Prices Push Staple Products Out Of Reach Of Poor, UN Press Release
  35. EU to Use 18 Pct Cereals Crops by 2020 for Biofuel, Reuters News Service,
  36. UK and EU Biofuels policy in scientific doubt, biofuelwatch Press Release,
  37. EU cuts back on biofuel crop subsidies, Euractiv News,
  38. Green Fuels Will Save the Earth – Or Not, Reuters News Agency,
  39. Boon for birds to be set-aside, RSPB,
  40. Bio-energy: dream or nightmare for biodiversity?, Birdlife International,
  41. Research confirms extent of Europe’s disappearing farmland birds, Birdlife International,
  42. Biofuel crops threaten Indigenous people , Biofuels News,
  43. Oil Palm and Other Commercial Tree Plantations, Monocropping: Impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ Land Tenure and Resource Management Systems and Livelihoods., Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Parshuram Tamang,
  44. Oxfam, ‘Bio-fuelling Poverty – Why the EU renewable-fuel target may be disastrous for poor people’ –
  45. D1 Oils presentation to Biodiesel Expo conference, October 2007,
  46. D1 Oil is partnering with BP, Biodiesel Magazine, September 2007,
  47. D1 Oils presentation to Biodiesel Expo conference, October 2007,
  48. Poor but defiant, thousands march on Delhi in fight for land rights, Guardian, 25/11/07
  49. Seeds of hope, Guardian, June 2007,
  50. “Paving the Way for Agrofuels: EU policy, sustainability criteria and climate calculations”, Transnational Institute and others, September 2007,
  51. 2007 Amazon fires among worst ever, October 2007,
  52. Biofuels driving destruction of Brazilian cerrado, August 2007,
  53. Response to public consultation on carbon and sustainability reporting under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), biofuelwatch, Sept 2007,
  54. Conservative Party Press Release on RTFO debate,
  55. Response to public consultation on carbon and sustainability reporting under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), biofuelwatch, Sept 2007,
  56. Transcript of UK House of Commons Delegated Legislation Committee on the RTFO, 23rd October 2007,
  57. “Blessed Unrest”, Paul Hawken, see
  58. ‘Reduced Emissions From Deforestation’: Can Carbon Trading Save Our Ecosystems?, Deepak Rughani and Almuth Ernsting,
  59. Climate change and trace gases, James Hansen et al, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2007) 365, 1925-1954,
  60. George Monbiot, Heat,
  61. High Stakes: Designing emissions pathways to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change, ippr,
  62. For more on concentrated solar power, see TREC-UK,
  63. Greens call for an end to Biofuels, UK Green Party Press Release,
  64. Open Letter to EU from 250 NGOs,
  65. Declarations from the South, composite of declarations, biofuelwatch,
  66. EU Agrofuel Moratorium Call,