Agrofuels and oil palm plantations

The promotion of agrofuels as a form of renewable energy is proving to be one of the European Union’s biggest policy mistakes.

EU agrofuels policies are aggravating climate change. They have become a key driver of forest and biodiversity loss, land-grabs and conflicts, and human rights abuses in producer countries such as Indonesia. Increasingly, agricultural land needed to produce food is being reallocated to grow crops for agrofuels to fuel cars rather than to feed hungry people. [more]

DTE's Clare McVeigh with protestors from Food not Fuel

DTE Update, May 2010

In Indonesia, oil palm plantations are associated with poverty, human rights abuses, the takeover of indigenous territory, forest and peatland destruction, biodiversity collapse and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Plantation expansion is being driven partly by the rising demand for agrofuels from the EU and other countries.

This update provides information on what is happening at the European end of the agrofuels story.

Down to Earth No.84, March 2010

There was a time when public debates around palm oil centred mainly on food ingredients and cosmetics. Today the focus of the debate has shifted to the use of palm oil for electricity and heat generation as well as for transport.

In the last couple of months the UK has seen a nation-wide wave of planning applications for agrofuels-based power stations. Two energy companies W4B Renewable Energy and Vo-gen, mention palm oil as fuel source in their applications, while others have not legally ruled it out.

Down to Earth No.82, September 2009

European countries are turning to agrofuels for energy and transport as part of their strategy to move away from fossil fuels and meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The use of palm oil as an agrofuel source has drawn strong criticism due to the severe social, environmental and negative climate change impacts, which contradict industry claims that it is a 'green' fuel.

Down to Earth No.80-81, June 2009

The following CSO declaration was issued in March 2009 to urge governments to take a cautious approach to claims that charcoal - called 'biochar' by its promoters - can be a means of storing large amounts of carbon and mitigating climate change. Instead, 'biochar' could mean more land-grabbing, human rights violations and forest destruction.

Down to Earth No.80-81, June 2009

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has started awarding certificates to palm oil producers, even though some of those companies are involved in unresolved conflicts with local communities.

EU Renewable Energy Directive implicated in Human Rights Abuse in Sumatra 

Joint press release by Biofuelwatch, Down to Earth, Rettet den Regenwald e.V. Watch Indonesia! 11th February 2009