August 2009

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This page includes information on news and events in August 2009. (News and events are archived here at the end of the month.)

Events

News

  • (China) Biofuels: learning from Obama, 21 August 2009 by China Dialogue: A 2005 "report from the energy bureau at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planners, found that China could collect between 800 million and one billion tonnes of biomass from regular agricultural and forestry activities....By 2020, China would be able to reap an annual estimated harvest of two billion tonnes of biomass."
    • "China already has the foundation it needs to commercialise cellulosic ethanol production. [For instance,] China was previously a world leader in acid and enzyme hydrolysis."
    • "In accelerating the development of biofuel energy, China must coordinate on a national level and concentrate on two aspects....First, while commercialising mature technology as soon as possible, China should also strengthen basic research in key fields."
    • "Second, while supporting commercial demonstration projects, industry need to coordinate development of upstream production, such as large-scale sustainable feedstock, and downstream issues, such as transport and sales infrastructure and the optimisation of vehicles for use with E85 alcohol fuel mixture. Legislation, such as standards for environmentally friendly vehicles and low-carbon fuels, must be put in place. This will ensure the materials, the market and the regulations that are needed to meet our targets."[1]
  • (Palm Oil:) How the World Bank Let 'Deal Making' Torch the Rainforests, 19 August 2009 by Climate Wire / New York Times: "The World Bank ignored its own environmental and social protection standards when it approved nearly $200 million in loan guarantees for palm oil production in Indonesia, a stinging internal audit has found."
    • "The audit does not address climate change or how lending for palm oil -- an ingredient in foods and a biofuel added to diesel for cars -- fits into the World Bank's new 'strategic framework' for development and climate change."
    • "Specifically, auditors said, when loaning to Wilmar International Ltd. and other firms between 2003 and 2008, the IFC did not check out concerns about the companies' supply chain plantations. The Forest Peoples Programme, a U.K.-based nonprofit group that originally brought the complaint, charged that the companies illegally used fire to clear forestland, cleared primary forests, and seized lands belonging to indigenous people without due process."
    • In a letter, nonprofit organization representatives "called on the World Bank to freeze palm oil lending, charging that IFC suffers a 'systemic problem whereby the pressure to lend and to support business interests overcomes prudence, due diligence and concern for social and environmental outcomes.'"[2]
  • Oil giants destroy rainforests to make palm oil diesel for motorists, 15 August 2009 by TimesOnline: "Fuel companies are accelerating the destruction of rainforest by secretly adding palm oil to diesel that is sold to millions of British motorists."
    • "Twelve oil companies supplied a total of 123 million litres of palm oil to filling stations in the year to April, according to official figures obtained by The Times."
    • "Only 15 per cent of the palm oil came from plantations that met any kind of environmental standard. Much of the rest came from land previously occupied by rainforest."
    • "[C]learing rainforest to create biofuel plantations releases vast quantities of carbon stored in trees and soil. It takes up to 840 years for a palm oil plantation to soak up the carbon emitted when rainforest is burnt to plant the crop."
    • "The expansion of the palm oil industry in Indonesia has turned the country into the third-largest CO2 emitter, after China and the US. Indonesia has the fastest rate of deforestation, losing an area the size of Wales every year. The expansion of plantations has pushed the orang-utan to the brink of extinction in Sumatra."[3]



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