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« Food prints | Main | An American's home is not his castle »
Friday
Jan042008

It wasn't me guv!

Greenpeace biodiversity campaigns manager Andy Tait has a piece up at Comment is Free in which he tells us that the government has got it wrong on biofuels.

We are being sold a pup by governments and by the biofuels industry: a solution to climate change that actually risks making the problem worse.

Bravo Andy. You might also have pointed out to your readers that this is the problem with measuring carbon footprints rather than the full economic cost of something. The carbon footprint is just one cost among many, many different costs (and a small one at that). Unless you take them all into account you end up taking very silly decisions. This is why biofuels are not only associated with destruction of biodiversity but also with causing riots in Mexico and starvation in the third world. It's also why the track record of environmentalists has been to damage the environment rather than to enhance it. But hey-ho it keeps the activists off the streets.

It's also instructive to look at some of Greenpeace's earlier pronouncements on biofuels.

  • Greenpeace today welcomed the Government’s announcement on a mandatory sales target for biofuels as a small step in the right direction. (link)
  • When biomass is used to generate energy in an efficient and sustainable way, it has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and we strongly supports this. (link)

To be clear, they have caveated some of their support with requirements that the production should be environmentally sustainable, but one has to wonder whether they were really so daft as to think that there was a great deal of spare land around that could be converted to biofuels production.

Actually scrub that, of course they were that daft.

It will be interesting to see if Greenpeace will now adopt a position of outright opposition to biofuels. I rather think a veil will quietly be drawn over the whole embarrassing affair. 

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