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EU policies have generated huge demand for biofuels. Today, biofuels are mainly made from food crops (palm oil, rapeseed, soy and cereals). A football field of land is needed to power just two and a half cars for a year. But since most agricultural land is already being used to produce food, fragile ecosystems such as rainforests and peatlands are being converted to crop fields to fuel our cars. The same policies have led to the rest of the energy sector driving forest logging just to burn trees for energy. And all of this with billions of euros of subsidies - and in most cases with worse climate impacts than fossil fuels.
In Latin America, indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon now live on the palm oil frontier, and are being dispossessed of their ancestral forests and land. The Peruvian government has announced it has the capacity to dedicate at least 1.5 million hectares of land to oil palm cultivation to meet rising global demand. Right now in Europe, there is more palm oil in our cars than in our food.
Why are we burning foods like palm oil in our cars, and trees in our power stations?
Biofuels were meant to reduce emissions from vehicles that fuel climate change. BUT most biofuels made from crops are worse for the climate than fossil fuels because of deforestation and the draining of peat swamp forests, and because of the carbon that could have been saved if forests were allowed to return.
In other words: the cure is worse than the disease.
There are similar problems with forest biomass: burning trees and stumps for energy will typically increase emissions for decades compared to fossil fuels – regardless of how a forest is managed.
We now have a unique opportunity to end this lunacy. On 23rd October, the European Parliament's Environment Committee will decide whether the use of these biofuels in the EU should stop or continue to expand. It is our best chance to stop the further destruction of these unique habitats, destruction that displaces local communities and threatens many species of plants and animals, including orangutans.
By signing this petition, you are sending a clear message to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP) that you won't accept rainforests going up in flames, people being pushed off their land and the real possibility of endangered species becoming extinct in future, because of tragically misguided efforts to promote ‘clean’ energy.
For more information please visit and sign ou petition page.