Environmentalists Pour Wrath on Biofuels Mandate

Published December 3, 2007

(CHICAGO, Illinois – December 4, 2007) – Prominent environmentalists around the world are preparing to battle global warming alarmists at a United Nations conference on climate change taking place in Bali, Indonesia on December 3 to December 12.

Environmentalists are warning against expanding the production of biofuels, noting the proposed solution to global warming is actually causing more harm than it is designed to alleviate. Experts report biodiesel production, in particular, is causing the destruction of virgin rainforests and their rich biodiversity, as well as a sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Opponents of biofuels read like a Who’s Who of environmental activist groups. The Worldwatch Institute, World Conservation Union, and the global charity Oxfam warn that by directing food staples to the production of transport fuels, biofuels policy is leading to the starvation and further impoverishment of the world’s poor.

On November 15, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior unfurled a large banner reading “Palm Oil Kills Forests and Climate” and blockaded a tanker attempting to leave Indonesia with a cargo full of palm oil. Greenpeace, which warns of an imminent “climate bomb” due to the destruction of rich forests and peat bogs that currently serve as a massive carbon sink, reports groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and Flora and Fauna International have joined them in calling for an end to the conversion of forests to croplands for the production of biofuels.

“The rush to address speculative global warming concerns is once again proving the law of unintended consequences,” said James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute. “Biofuels mandates and subsidies are causing the destruction of forests and the development of previously pristine lands in a counterproductive attempt to improve the environment.

“Some of the world’s most effective carbon sinks are being destroyed and long-stored carbon is now being released into the atmosphere in massive quantities, merely to make wealthy Westerners feel like they are ‘doing something’ to address global warming. The reality is, they are making things worse,” Taylor noted.

“Global food supplies are being stripped bare to appease the global warming alarmists, and water supplies are being assaulted to meet government-imposed mandates to turn food crops into transportation fuel. The ongoing drought in the Southeastern U.S. and the decline in Great Lakes water levels should serve as a warning against the unintended consequences of government efforts to force people to comply with the demands of global warming alarmists,” Taylor observed.

“Bali, Indonesia is a fitting venue for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, because demands by global warming alarmists to replace oil and gasoline with biofuels are causing the rape of Indonesia’s lush tropical forests, which contain some of the world’s most rich and pristine biodiversity. In meeting the global warming alarmists’ demands for ‘deforestation diesel,’ Indonesia has ironically rocketed to the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases,” Taylor added.

For further information about The Heartland Institute, please contact Tom Swiss, public relations director, at 312/377-4000 or email [email protected].