6th October: Aviation biofuels and what ICAO’s proposals will really mean

Report on aviation biofuels raises alarm about links to land grabs, rainforest destruction

As the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) prepares to hold a high level conference on alternative aviation fuels from 11-13 October, Biofuelwatch campaigners are raising the alarm that the large-scale adoption of biofuels by the aviation industry could lead to massive land grabs and rainforest destruction.

ICAO, a specialized UN agency with close ties to the airline industry, is proposing the phase-in of 128 million tonnes of aviation biofuels by 2040, and 258 million tonnes by 2050. By comparison, a total of 82 million tonnes of biofuels in total were produced worldwide last year.

Biofuelwatch research has found that the only commercially feasible feedstock for aviation biofuels would derive from hydrotreated palm oil – a highly controversial product linked to rainforest destruction and land grabs. Earlier this year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution which calls for the phase out of palm oil as a component of biofuels by 2020, while the US Environmental Protection Agency has so far refused to accredit palm oil as a biofuel feedstock eligible for federal subsidies.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aviation are growing faster than those from almost any sector – but any meaningful measures to curb aviation emissions would necessarily impact airline companies’ shareholder profits. Rather than proposing a regulatory approach which would genuinely reduce emissions from the sector, ICAO is partnering with the industry to promote so-called “carbon neutral growth” involving biofuels and carbon offsetting – a practice condemned last year by over 100 civil society organizations.

Join us on Friday, October 6th at 11am Eastern US // 4pm London // 5pm Brussels time  for a special report release webinar for more information and ways to take action. This will be a one hour webinar including 30 mins of questions and answers. Click here to participate in the webinar.

Click here to read Biofuelwatch’s new report