Wednesday, 24 February 2010
BBC Radio interview: biofuels for Bristol??
I've been on Radio Bristol this morning, interviewed about the biofuel power station planned for Avonmouth by company W4B. You can listen to the broadcast on BBC iPlayer by clicking here - I'm on right at the start, in the 6am news clip, then in an extended interview for 5 mins or so if you jump to approx an hour and ten minutes in (I think they used a clip from that interview on the 8am news, two hours into the program, too). Council Leader Barbara Janke and the BBCs Dave Harvey are also on the program from about 2hrs in.
Basically I've said that there are huge competing pressures for land use around the globe and that its immoral to take up land in poor countries that could be used to grow food,conserve wildlife and fight climate change, to fuel power stations in rich countries. Biofuels are not green as total carbon footprinting shows that they are more damaging as a fuel than coal and oil because of the land use changes (including mass deforestation) plus consequent emissions and the energy and chemicals used for intensive growing and processing.
There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil - and we have yet to properly define what a renewable fuel from such plants is. Plant types vary widely, from potatoes, to palm plants, to mahogany trees which no-one suggests are a renewable fuel source just because they take in carbon!! Renewability in practice is about proper and widely respected certification, inspection of plantations and processes and independent verification - this is not effectively provided by any agency at present and cant be put in place independently by a relatively small company like W4B (giant companies like Unilever are struggling with this issue, so smaller ones have little chance).